Author(s): Charles Elton
From the bestselling author of Mr Toppit, a Richard & Judy Book Club pick, comes a riotous, darkly comic story of siblings searching for the truth about their musician father - for fans of The Rosie Project, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Humans My brother Huddie said that we must be in the very small percentile of people who had a mother who fell out of the same window twice. Even dogs don't do that: they learn from experience. Iz Herzl, renowned political activist and protest singer, has always said that you should concentrate on the future, not the past. Now aged eighty, a reclusive figure holed up in Muswell Hill, Iz's refusal to reflect on his life leaves his teenage children, maths wunderkind Rose and her dying brother Huddie, adrift in myth and uncertainty. Iz doesn't talk about his other child, Joseph, a West End songwriter whom Rose and Huddie have never met. Joseph's single, disastrous encounter with his father many years earlier set him on a violent path to self destruction. Now he tries to impose order on his chaotic world with rhyme, transforming traumatic events into song.
As the scattered children of Iz Herzl begin to converge, the ambiguities at the heart of their father's life start to surface in a way that will change them all. The Songs is a bittersweet tale of family, fame and ambition that is both darkly comic and deeply affecting.
From the bestselling author of Mr Toppit, a Richard & Judy Book Club pick, comes a riotous, darkly comic story of siblings searching for the truth about their musician father - for fans of The Rosie Project, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Humans
This is a truly wonderful novel - heartbreaking, funny, and such a painful dissection of family life it makes one wince -- Deborah Moggach This is an extraordinary debut, not only for its confident storytelling but for its nerdish familiarity with such an eclectic range of subjects ... Dark, funny... jangly with secrets * Sunday Times * Elton has an arch wit, an engaging style and a sense of invention that recalls Jonathan Coe's What a Carve Up! * Evening Standard on Mr Toppit * What begins as a robust comedy evolves into a dark, ironic family drama, a coming-of-age tale and an industry satire * Daily Mail * Mr Toppit is miles ahead of most debut novels and makes an engrossing, moving and perceptive read ... Quite a ride * The Times * A chillingly mingled hit of love, need and dread * Independent * A masterly tale of quiet torment * Sunday Telegraph * Partly Royal Tenenbaums-style saga of dysfunctional family... part coming-of-age tale ... and part satire on the iniquities of celebrity and hype * Observer * Poignant and engaging * Mail on Sunday *
Charles Elton was a director of the literary agency Curtis Brown before becoming an independent TV producer in 1991. In 2000 he joined ITV as executive producer in drama and left in 2010 when his bestselling first novel Mr Toppit, a Richard & Judy Book Club pick, was published. He lives in London and Somerset. The Songs is his second novel.