When Did You Last See Your Father?: A Son's Memoir of Love and Loss
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When Did You Last See Your Father?: A Son's Memoir of Love and Loss

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  368 ratings  ·  42 reviews


Soon to be a major motion picture, directed by Anand Tucker and starring Colin Firth and Jim Broadbent

And when did you last see your father? Was it last weekend or last Christmas? Was it before or after he exhaled his last breath? And was it him really, or was it a version of him, shaped by your own expectations and disappointments?

Blake Morrison's subject is universal: th...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 13th 2008 by Picador (first published 1993)
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(showing 1-30 of 658)
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Karen
When did you last see your father? Was it when they burnt the coffin? Put the lid on it? When he exhaled his last breath? When he last sat up and said something? When he last recognized me? When he last smiled? When he last did something for himself unaided? When he last felt healthy? When he last thought he might be healthy, before they brought the news? The weeks before he left us, or life left him, were a series of depletions; each day we thought ‘he can’t get less like himself than this,’ an...more
woody guthrie
May 08, 2007 woody guthrie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Read it before your parents pass away.
I picked up this book after a review on radio 4, it charts the relationship of father and son through the sons eyes {Blake Morrison}. It was not a subject I would normaly read but it has become one of my favourite books. I found lots of simalarities with my own father and son relationship even though we come from a completly different background to the author. I still dip in now and again and its still a good read. It is a sad tale of a dying father and a sons last attempt to tie up loose ends a...more
Janitag
Blake Morrison has written a book about his father's life and death.


The book is written so well that whilst reading, I actually mourned the death of an ordinary, loud and colourful man who is diagnosed with cancer. The reason I picked up And When Did You Last See Your Father? was the fact that I have never read a real-life book about losing a parent (which is one of my biggest fears in life).


The last chapters were deeply moving. The book wasn't mindblowing, but it was beautiful!
Rebecca
Oct 15, 2007 Rebecca rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fathers, sons and bereavement counsellors
Captures a 50s childhood and embarrassing father perfectly. Having seen the film, I think the father was endearing despite his more irritating habits. Both the film and the book made me think the author himself might be a somewhat irritating and prissy son to have, but he does write well and movingly about the last stages of terminal illness, and the sometimes predictable reactions of those around. Recommend both!
Oliver
Morrison's book is partly a book about death/bereavement and partly a memoir of his father. His Dad was clearly a larger than life character and he has portrayed lovingly without saccharin: charmer, busybody, bargain hunter, queue-jumper, pillar of the community, adulterer, husband, father and doctor. The book jumps between episodes in his father's decline in health to his funeral, interspersed with episodes/memories of him. I have always felt Morrison's strength as a writer is his ability to "m...more
Anne
Finally got round to savour this whilst on holiday this year. Saw the film a couple of years ago (much love for Colin Firth) and wanted to know more. I've lost my father recently and my mother is in poor health so resonates completely with my state of mind.

The book reads like a daydream - a time in limbo - and is amazingly honest. Morrison's father is by no means perfect and would probably drive me absolutely mad, as he did his own family. But they Continued to love and respect him for his own...more
Natasha Borton
This book was recommended to me for my Creative Writing course, we're currently focused on life writing. In the past I haven't paid too much attention to the abundance that is 'real' writing. With that in mind I put my prejudice behind me and fell head-first into an amazing journey.
If you have ever lost someone close to you (which I hope is not the case, but sadly often is) then this book could be the fine line between reliving the pain and hearing a sympathetic narrative. I found the writing...more
Barbara Mojica
I happened to notice this free kindle book and decided to download it. It led to my discovery of a very talented author of whom I was unaware. This particular book is also available as part of a set with its companion volume Your Mother’s Love. Ms. Alling not only writes children’s books, but also writes across many genres including science fiction, fantasy and poetry. In addition, she draws beautiful illustrations that capture the mood of her story.

Turning to this particular book, Alling associ...more
123bex
This was ok. A nice quick read. I wish I hadn't read it immediately after the vastly superior Red Dust Road. It's just kind of a manpain manifesto...doesn't hold too much interest for me as a story and bizarrely leaves out things I would think are very important, like what kind of father the author is. His own children are barely an afterthought. However, it is evocative and vibrant in its illustration of the characters.
Polly James
Poetic, unflinching, visceral and intense, Blake Morrison makes his father come alive for the reader in this astonishing and moving memoir, (rather ironically, since the book deals with his death). Morrison's writing is by turns deeply moving and extremely funny, and the result is a beautiful and (apparently) extremely honest book that will remain with me for quite some time. Highly recommended.
Liberty Gilmore
Arthur Morrison is a loud and colourful character. He's also dying of cancer. With the narrative switching between Arthur at his greatest and his tragically diminished final days, the reader, along with the writer, mourns the loss of an ordinary but magnificent man. Unflinching in its portrayal, it's an honest and heartfelt memoir that - for all its morbid subject matter - teems with life and vivacity.

A wonderful read, though at times a bit heavy (by nature of the subject rather than poor writin...more
Mohawkgrl
I've been a fan of Morrison's writing since I first read, 'As If' back in 2002. Shortly after, I read the sequel to this,'Things My Mother Never Told Me', the story of his mother's life. I find Morrison' writing very easy to read and informative. He tells of truths and complexities of the relationships we have with our parents, and how ultimately we are undeniably, shaped by them. And no matter what age we are when we lose a parent, we are fundamentally affected. A humourous and touching look at...more
Mike Ingram
I actually saw the recent film before reading the book, and in fact bought the book largely because the voice-over at the end of the movie -- which I assumed must have come straight from the book -- was so beautiful and moving. The book is pretty good, I suppose, but I might actually make the rare recommendation of the film over the memoir. They cover pretty much the same ground, and the prose of the book, while solid, isn't amazing enough to bring anything to the table that's not brought to the...more
Rob & Liz
I saw the trailer on the Internet with Colin Firth and looked up the author to discover he had writtem a book which the film is based on.

A slow read, informative true story and sad but funny though and tends to expose the different events that can go on in a persons life.
These events form the family as well as the person leaving one with questions perhaps or understanding the person when you finally take time to truly know the effect his Dad had on his life.
Rob
Fiona
There were similarities between Arthur Morrison & my own Father, another queue jumping, forceful personality, who was so well known in our community it was hard to be treated as an individual in school.
I found it a very moving book & since my own Father died I feel I should re read it. The depiction of the final illness is very true to life & revealing, it shows how illness & death are great levellers.
I can recommend this for children of Fathers everywhere.
Jenny Won garcia
Moving and honest memoir of a father by his son. Loved reading about his father's eccentricity and the son's difficulties in relating to his father as a teenager but you can tell that there is deep love and admiration in their relationship which comes through in every passage. Loved he book and the movie is great too, Jim Broadbent and Colin Firth play the father and son with a very young Carey Mulligan has a small but memorable role.
ErinH
I was somewhat disappointed. I had heard an interview with the author and was expecting better. With that said, its still a good book. He examines his relationship with his father as well as his feelings during the short time his father was ill and after he eventually died. I found the style of writing a little difficult to read, so I tended to skip through some sentences.
Don Kaiser
This book came highly recommended and I guess it was OK. I was just expecing more. It seemed to skip around too much and the storyline was hard to follow. Even so, I persisted and made it to the end. Not exactly a page turner, unless you're turning the pages to see how much more you have to read until it's over. The best chapter was the last chapter.
Dominic
A great book but I think very much a man's book as it goes into the relationship between father and son to great depth. Very emotional, extremely touching and beautifully written.
Incidentally, the film is also very good: though it is not a good film of the book.
Hana
It's a shame my span of interest is relative to a goldfish's memory. I lost interest after one third - so I guess it's me, not the book. Nevertheless, thanks to this book, I kept on contemplating my relationship with my parents throughout the reading.
RoHullAH RaHiMi
Between every father and son there is a story to be told.
I picke up this book, because i had seen the movie before. the movie was very good one but when i read the book once agian i believed that books are much much better than movie
Judith Johnson
Blake Morrison was coming to give a lecture to the Sixth Form at a school where I worked as alumni officer, so I read all the books I could read by him in the library. I missed the lecture in the end, but I was glad to have read his books!
Lynn Kearney
I enjoyed this very much. The mixture of love and irritation this man felt for his father, felt poignant and familiar. Now I want to see the movie, though I can't imagine Jim Broadbent being old enough to play Colin Firth's father.
minnie
This is an excellent and frank memoir, of the authors childhood and his fathers death from cancer.Its not sentimental just totally realistic about human emotions and death.The sequel about his mother is even more compelling I found.
Laura ★☮☯
Morrison's experience is not unique and this makes it a very important book to read. As it is based on a difficult subject, it is not a light subject but there is a glimmer of humour throughout.
Bella123 Hampton


A very moving, shockingly honest and beautifully detailed memoir - I may have welled up a few times. It's refreshing to read a father-son perspective and the relationship they had together.
Anna Rose
Very descriptive, this book was extremely interesting and vivid. However, it was a bit difficult to follow at parts and dragged a bit in places. I still recommend it.
Monique
Mooi boek over de herinneringen van de schrijver aan zijn vader. Als reactie op het boek kreeg hij veel brieven van lezers met hun laatste herinnering aan hun vader.
Dani (Pen to Paper)
I think the actual rating would be 4.5 - I couldn't decide between 4 or 5, so this seems right.

I'll finish the rest of this review at a later date.
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Blake Morrison was born in Skipton, Yorkshire, and educated at Nottingham University, McMaster University and University College, London. After working for the Times Literary Supplement, he went on to become literary editor of both The Observer and the Independent on Sunday before becoming a full-time writer in 1995.

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and former Chair of the Poetry Book S...more
More about Blake Morrison...
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