Excerpt from Man and Boy by Tony Parsons, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Man and Boy

by Tony Parsons

Man and Boy by Tony Parsons
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2001, 340 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2002, 340 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


I knew that smell from somewhere and I recognized the way it made me feel. Funny enough, it reminded me of that feeling you get when you hold a new born baby.

The analogy was far from perfect—the car couldn’t squint up at me with eyes that had just started to see or grasp one of my fingers in a tiny, tiny fist or give me a gummy little smile. But for a moment there it felt like it just might.

'You only live once,' the car salesman said, his heels clicking across the showroom floor.

I smiled politely, indicating that I would have to think that one over.

'Are you in the market for some serious fun?' he said. 'Because if the MGF is about one thing, it’s about fun.'

While he gave me his standard sales pitch, he was sizing me up, trying to decide if I was worth a test drive.

He was pushy, but not so pushy that it made your flesh crawl. He was just doing his job. And despite my weekend clothes—which because of the nature of my work were not really so different from my week clothes—he must have seen a man of substance. A fast-track career looking for some matching wheels. Young, free and single. A life as carefree as a lager commercial. How wrong can you be?

'This model has the Variable Valve Control system,' he said with what seemed like genuine enthusiasm. 'The opening period of the inlet valves can be varied by altering the rotational speed of each cam lobe.'

What the fuck was he going on about? Was it something to do with the engine?

'A total babe magnet,' he said, noting my dumbfounded expression. 'Plenty of poke. A young single guy couldn’t do any better than the MGF.'

This was my kind of sales pitch. Forget the technical guff, just tell me that you can lose yourself in a car like this. Let me know you can lose yourself. That’s what I wanted to hear.

The salesman was distracted by something on the street, and I followed his gaze out of the showroom’s plate glass wall.

He was looking at a tall blond woman holding the hand of a small boy wearing a Star Wars T-shirt. They were surrounded by bags of supermarket shopping. And they were watching us.

Even framed by all those plastic carrier bags and chaperoning a little kid, the woman was the kind that you look at more than once.

What you noticed about her child—and he was certainly her child—is that he was carrying a long, plastic tube with a dull light glowing faintly inside.

If you had been to the cinema at any time over the last twenty years, you would recognize it as a light saber, traditional weapon of the Jedi Knights. This one needed new batteries.

The beautiful woman was smiling at me and the salesman. The little kid pointed his light saber, as if about to strike us down.

'Daddy,' he mouthed from the other side of the plate glass wall that divided us. You couldn’t hear him but that’s what he was saying.

'My wife and son,' I said, turning away, but not before I caught the disappointment in the salesman’s eyes. 'Got to go.'

Daddy. That’s me. Daddy.

'You don’t even like cars,' my wife reminded me, edging our old VW station wagon through the thick early evening traffic.

'Just looking.'

'And you’re too young for a midlife crisis,' she said. 'Thirty is much too young, Harry. The way it works, you wait for fifteen years and then run off with a secretary who’s young enough to be your second wife. And I cut off the sleeves of all your suits. Not to mention your bollocks.'

'I’m not thirty, Gina', I chuckled, although it wasn’t really all that funny. She was always exaggerating. 'I’m twenty-nine.'

Copyright Tony Parsons, 1999. All rights reserved. Reproduced by the permission of the publisher, Source Books.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hillbilly Elegy
    Hillbilly Elegy
    by J.D. Vance
    In this illuminating memoir, Vance recounts his trajectory from growing up a "hillbilly" in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dark Flood Rises
    The Dark Flood Rises
    by Margaret Drabble
    Margaret Drabble, the award-winning novelist and literary critic who is approaching eighty and ...
  • Book Jacket: All Our Wrong Todays
    All Our Wrong Todays
    by Elan Mastai
    You need a great deal of time to read All Our Wrong Todays, but don't let that put you off. ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Lola
    by Melissa Scrivner Love

    An astonishing debut crime thriller about an unforgettable woman.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Mercies in Disguise
    by Gina Kolata

    A story of hope, a family's genetic destiny, and the science that rescued them.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

They say that in the end truth will triumph, but it's a lie.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O My D B

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -