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Description - One for My Baby by Tony Parsons

New novel about men, love and relationships by the author of the Book of the Year, Man and Boy. Alfie Budd found the perfect woman with whom to spend the rest of his life, and then lost her. He doesn't believe you get a second chance at love. Returning to the England he left behind during the brief, idyllic time of his marriage, Alfie finds the rest of his world collapsing around him. He takes comfort in a string of pointless, transient affairs with his students at Churchill's Language School, and he tries to learn Tai Chi from an old Chinese man, George Chang. Will Alfie ever find a family life as strong as the Changs'? Can he give up meaningless sex for a meaningful relationship? And how do you play it when the woman you like has a difficult child who is infatuated with a TV wrestler known as The Slab? Like his runaway bestseller, Man and Boy, Tony Parsons's new novel is full of laughter and tears, biting social comment and overwhelming emotion.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780006514817
ISBN-10: 0006514812
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 130mm x 26mm)
Pages: 400
Imprint: Harper
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publish Date: 28-Jul-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - One for My Baby by Tony Parsons

UK Kirkus Review » Tony Parsons has an engaging way of talking confidently to his readers, closely involving them in his hero's anxieties and dreams. His first novel, Man and Boy, was concerned with a man's worries about his son and his father. This novel is about another man's loss of his wife, with whom he had fallen instantly, wholeheartedly and everlastingly in love - on sight. Alfie Budd meets Rose, a bright young lawyer, on the Star Ferry in Hong Kong, in the dying days of British rule. Alfie has fled from the stresses of teaching at an inner London comprehensive to give English lessons to rich, glossy, Chinese ladies. When he and Rose marry, the future looks golden. They are, Alfie believes, the perfect couple. But nothing, it seems, is perfect for ever. Almost as suddenly as happiness arrives Alfie finds himself back in London, dazed, heartbroken - and alone. And still teaching English, this time to a motley collection of foreign students from whom he seeks a kind of consolation in friendship and casual sex. There is more comfort in his parents' solid relationship, his grandmother's uncritical affection and the support of the Chang family - restauranteurs in London's Chinatown. But when his parents' marriage crumbles, his grandmother dies and the Chang family unity frays at the edges, he becomes bitterly convinced that no-one has a second chance at perfection. Yet accepting the flawed, the damaged and the difficult can, in the end, bring greater and longer-lasting satisfaction. Alfie's pilgrimage and his gradual recognition of the infinite variety of love and its changing horizons is refreshing, and unusual in coming from a man's point of view. The book is not all earnest exploration of emotions- there are some very funny passages, especially when Alfie tries to disentangle his students' misinterpretation of English idiom, colloquialisms and slang. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » The third from the English author Parsons (Man and Wife, 2003, etc.) is a maudlin tale of loss. The high point in Alfie Budd's life came in 1996 in Hong Kong. The 32-year-old expat British teacher was enjoying his polite students after five rough years in a London high school, and he was savoring life in a special place (the Brits turned over Hong Kong to the Chinese in June 1997). Most important, he had met Rose, the love of his life, a young and exceedingly smart corporate lawyer, also from England. His first glimpse of Rose and her "bucktoothed grin" came on the ferry. (Cling to that image, for there won't be many others.) Though no beauty, Rose is adorable. The two soon marry and then, just as soon, Rose is gone, dead in a scuba diving accident. Alfie goes into a long funk, and two years later, in London, he's still inconsolable, unemployed, and living with his parents-until his father destroys his own happy marriage by decamping with the very pretty Czech au pair. Doesn't his father understand that "you get one shot at happiness"? Now Alfie has lost domestic stability as well as losing Rose; the only thing left is his beloved grandmother Nan. But Alfie finds some stirrings of life when he starts teaching again, foreigners from all over. Rose had married him because he was nice, but now he turns quite naughty, bedding four of his students in quick succession; his fifth target, a feisty English cleaning lady, holds him off. Maybe Alfie has more in common with his horny old dad than he thought. A more promising diversion is learning tai chi. Alfie's instructor, restaurant owner George Chang, heads a happy three-generation family that Alfie can only envy. And then it's time for yet another loss as Nan bravely, graciously, succumbs to cancer. Alfie wears his heart on his sleeve as he narrates this generous serving of mush. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Tony Parsons

Tony Parsons is the author of Man and Boy , winner of the Book of the Year prize. His subsequent novels - One For My Baby, Man and Wife, The Family Way, Stories We Could Tell and My Favourite Wife - were all bestsellers. He lives in London.

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