An entertaining, provocative novel, a fresh look at male bonding and our sense of kinship, by a young, high-flying political consultant. Living in neighbouring houses on a tough estate in Lancashire, Adam and Kevin were childhood best friends. Kevin - child of a problem family, revered fighter and footballer - was definitely the leader, while Adam - puny, bookish and sensitive - rode on the coat-tails of his dominating friend. However, Kevin's football career is wrecked by a knee injury, leaving him at 18 unemployed with a wife and two children to support. He takes refuge in drink and drugs while Adam, complete with a new set of well-heeled friends, lands a high-flying job in London. The stretch between Strangeways prison and the hallowed cloisters of Cambridge, between the estate's Working Men's Club and London media life, becomes too much for even the best of friends. But when Adam and Kevin lose the people that mean most to them, they - back in their home town again - are forced to confront what their roots really are and what means success to them - and in doing so they come to know what separates the men from the boys.
Touching, funny and completely unputdownable, Philip Collins's novel of life, love and loss is the unforgettable story of a new generation. Peopled with wonderful characters and vivid scenes from closing mines to university quads, from unemployment centres and hopeless estates to the upwardly mobile, fast-stream Islington lifestyle, The Men From the Boys is also rich in the questions it poses. Readers of Roddy Doyle, Tony Parsons and Nick Hornby will enjoy The Men From the Boys.
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(197mm x 130mm x mm)
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Philip Collins has created a novel of memories and tenderness as he describes the exploits of two friends clambering along lifes rocky path. He recalls days gone by with ease, summoning up half-remembered playground conflicts, the Merseybeat and the Beatles. Kevin and Adam flirt with girls, football and rock-'n'-roll as they grow from children into youths and begin to come to terms with adulthood. As boys they participated in a blood brotherhood ceremony involving a rusty compass point, which seemed to confirm that thered never be any secrets between them. They believed theyd always help each other and that their unity would last forever but, as the tale unfolds, they realize that life is not as simple as a schoolboy ritual. Kevin, overflowing with hope and ambition, finds his dream of a football career collapsing into an anxious world of drugs and chaos. Adam, passing through university and destined for a tranquil middle-class life, gradually realizes his once feared father is in fact a dependable friend. But then his father dies suddenly, leaving him shattered. Watching the foundations of their lives crumble, both Kevin and Adam realize theyve lost something enormously personal and deeply loved. Like confused homing pigeons, they return to the streets of their youth. Finally, after all the misplaced years and turmoil, both come to understand the qualities dividing the men from the boys. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Philip Collins
Philip Collins, now director of the Social Market Foundation, was Head of UK Strategy for an international bank, a tutor at Cambridge, and a producer at the BBC. He writes for numerous newspapers and magazines and is a frequent contributor to Newsnight and the BBC World Service. He lives in London and is currently writing his second novel for HarperCollins.