Sunday, 8 September 2013

His Father's Son by Tony Black

A poignant, tender and darkly comic story about a father and son from Irvine Welsh's favourite crime writer .....
"Soulful and stunningly written, this reads like a future classic" ~ Lisa Jewell

Tony Black is a very successful crime writer, having written seven previous novels.  His Father's Son was published by Black & White Publishing on 3 September 2013, and is his first novel outside of the crime genre.

His Father's Son is a a breathtakingly beautiful read.  It is Irish to the core, depicting the culture of 1970s Ireland perfectly with eloquent phrasing and wonderful characters.  The story exposes the culture of religion first, quickly followed by family, a culture that remains in many places in Ireland to this day.  My mother is Irish, from County Donegal on the north west coast, and although I was brought up in England, we spent our summers in a small Donegal town, surrounded by characters just like those in Tony Black's novel.  The use of language and the humour throughout this story is touching and delicate, the characters are larger than life, natural and very authentic.

Joey Driscol and his wife Shauna left Ireland in the late 60s, they went as far away as they could, to Australia, to start a new life, away from their troubles and their critics.  Happily settled, with plenty of work, a nice house and a small son Marti, Joey believes that life could not get much better - he will never return to Ireland.  To Joey, Australia is the lucky country, a land of opportunity where people do not judge him and accept him for what he is.   Sadly Shauna continues to battle the 'Black Dog', a depressive illness that has haunted her for many years.    When the Black Dog finally conquers, Shauna takes Marti and returns to Ireland.  Joey follows them, and begins a journey that is not just one of many miles, but one of confrontations and realisations.

The father-son relationships in this story are tenderly examined.  Joey's relationships with both his son and his father are central to the story, and whilst the emotional fallout is immense, the humour creates a perfect balance.

Tony Black has produced a novel that will warm the heart of any reader, and those that have a link with Ireland will especially relish this story.   I thought the pitch of the story and the writing on the whole was perfect, and have to agree with Lisa Jewell's comment - this really could be a future classic.

My thanks to Emma Draude from ED Public Relations who sent my copy for review.

Tony Black is the author of seven previous novels and was described by Irvine Welsh as his 'favourite British crime writer'.  An award-winning journalist, his parents moved from Scotland to Australia in the 1960s and he was born in New South Wales in 1972.  His family moved back to Scotland after his birth but then moved to Ireland in 1979 mirroring the age that Marti arrives in the 'old land'.  Semi-autobiographical, (Tony's father was a rugby player and hard-nosed dockyard fitter and his bookish son, Tony. mystified him) His Father's Son is also inspired by the birth of Tony's own son and the joy of becoming a father himself.
Tony lived in Dublin until last year with frequent visits back to Australia but now lives in Ayrshire with his wife and little boy.  His Father's Son is dedicated to his son and is Tony's first novel outside of the crime genre.
For more information about Tony Black and his writing, visit  he also has a Twitter account.

1 comment:

  1. I am still amazed I come across so many authors on blogs that I still haven't heard about before. Thanks for reviewing Anne, think I will have a scope at his profile on fantastic fiction and his other works too.