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Always the Sun Hardcover – Oct 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: ISIS Publishing (October 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753171619
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753171615
  • Shipping Weight: 789 g

Product Description


'This is a harrowing book about aggression, fear, the painful strength of parental love and the agony of being unable to shield your child from hurt. Brilliantly and sympathetically written, it will strike cold fear into the heart of every parent' DAILY MAIL 'The stripped-down prose of Neil Cross is at once masterly, authoritative and tender throughout this superb and difficult novel. Outstanding' BIG ISSUE 'Set to be his most successful yet...harrowing but gripping' TIME OUT 'A gripping journey to the limits of paternal emotions' MAIL ON SUNDAY 'The stripped-down prose of Neil Cross is at once masterly, authoritative and tender throughout this superb and difficult novel. Outstanding.' BIG ISSUE **** 'The novel is reminiscent of Peckinpah's Straw Dogs. But rather than sexual inadequacy, it is feelings of parental inadequacy, compounded by grief, isolation and the loneliness which must be felt by every parent whose only child has just become an uncommunicative teenager, which provoke an intelligent man to commit senseless violence' Independent on Sunday 1/2 'Gripping, even in the last 50 pages, where what starts out as a recognizable, everyday situation finally goes over the top...Cross relies on a simple, straightforward prose...' GUARDIAN 21/2 'Tackling the thorny issue of child abuse - by other children - is a stylistically brave move. It's testament to Cross' undeniable talent that it's been done so tastefully' BIG ISSUE 7/2 "Cross's grimly readable novel settles into a parent's nightmares and ties apprehensive knots in the reader's stomach" Guardian 20/2 'Cross persuasively depicts the subtle drama of family life and gently builds up three-dimensional characters' Observer 27/3

About the Author

Neil Cross is the author of several novels including Always the Sun and Burial, as well as the bestselling memoir Heartland. He has been lead scriptwriter for the two most recent seasons of the acclaimed BBC spy drama series Spooks and continues to write widely for the screen.

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Sam steered the dirty-white hire van to the nearside kerb and killed the engine. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good Idea but Very Poorly Written, with Characters You Really Couldn't Care Less About Nov. 7 2008
By James N Simpson - Published on
Format: Paperback
This looked like it would be a good book when I read the blurb on the back about a kid being bullied and the father going to extreme lengths to stop it. Unfortunately the kid being bullied/stopping it part of the plot is a very minor part of the whole storyline. The majority of the story revolves around Sam, a very stupid and selfish man having to deal with the consequences of his actions by digging himself in deeper rather than just following a clear path out of it. Sam the father seems to have blinders on the whole story, any normal person would have seen the entire situation for what it was early on. The other main problem is the story is written in a poor writer style Sam said this, Jamie said this, Sam walked over here and so on style rather than through the eyes of one or more characters.

Basic plot is Sam a man who recently lost his wife, along with his 13 year old son Jamie, decide to move from London to a bigger cheaper house in an English country town where Sam grew up. Jamie only agrees to the new house if he can have the master room. Sam being a spineless father with no parenting skills does this, along with whatever else Jamie insists on. Sam has no control of Jamie at all, Jamie only listens to his aunt and basically treats his father like dirt. Jamie also doesn't like going to school, so when Sam is told his son will be kicked out but hey, maybe its not all his fault, Sam should maybe ask him about this other kid at school, Sam jumps into cotton wool parent mode. Stupidly he decides to confront the father at his workplace telling him to bring his brat into line. Understandably the father isn't impressed and tells him so, Sam then decides to have a go at the bully in a pub toilet which is where the situation escalates into Sam's vendetta in his son's name against this well liked town family.

It's not just Sam however who is a weak character, so is his son Jamie. You can understand why this kid had no friends at school (when he decided to go that is) and became a target for the bully. In fact he shows later when out riding his bike and encountering the bully's brother that he is in fact just as big a bully as the bully (although he does get his comeuppance from that victim's best friend) when given the opportunity. This is where the story gets so ridiculous, the father now should know what his son is, so why he would go down the ridiculous angle he did, plus it was pretty obvious from that encounter that the bullying would have been pretty much over anyway as Jamie had been more humiliated by his own actions than anything the bully could do at school. Of course though the father's got to keep igniting the fire.

The only redeeming thing for the storyline which lifts my rating slightly is the ending. Justice prevailed in the end with everyone getting exactly what they deserved as a result of their actions.

And what's with the title, is it a typo, is Sun supposed to be Son? Got nothing to do with the big ball of fire in space throughout the entire novel.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Inconsistent Jan. 11 2005
By K. L. Cotugno - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book has some very fine writing in it. Its inclusion on the Booker Award's long list is verification of that. However, while the character of Sam, the father, is examined in detail, his son Jamie is a cypher and by the end is even more elusive. Motivations which drive the action are hazy, making the plot spin off its center. People acting against their type need more clarification. Rare flashes of humor appear, usually involving peripheral action as central theme is grim. I liked it, would recommend it, but still cannot give it a higher rating because of the inconsistency.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Though this book was written quite a while ago, ... Jan. 30 2015
By OliviaG - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Though this book was written quite a while ago, the issues it brings up are very relevant today. The father must deal with his son's bullying and the difficulties of being a single father. It's a very emotional read and ends in a way that really make you think.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not one of Cross's best Nov. 5 2013
By David Rourke - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Have liked Neil Cross's previous work, buried particualrly but found this one too slow and didn't pass my 100 page test!!
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Appalling... Aug. 11 2005
By HORAK - Published on
Format: Paperback
Mr Cross's novel inflicts on the reader a dreary litany of scenes in which people dress, eat, watch TV, smoke, drink wine or beer and utter the blandest of banalities of which the following quotation is quite representative: "People are freaked out by a train crash, which is a rare occurrence and unlikely to happen again any time soon. More people die every day on British roads than die annually on the railways. But rail crashes are newsworthy. After a crash, nervous passengers take to the roads. The roads are a great deal more dangerous than railways. And the more congested the roads are, the more dangerous they are. Simple really."

One example of the many enlightening passages in this novel...

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