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The Sins of the Sons
by Alan Franks

It is the very early Sixties in suburban England. The Twist, the latest dance craze, has just arrived from America and is taking Britain by storm. Social conventions are under attack as never before as the waltz and foxtrot are barged aside by the invasion. In this new world of undreamed possibilities and terrified parents two thirteen-year-old boys, Danny and Oliver, find themselves the victims of an evil hoax by fellow pupils at the ballroom classes. With all the authority figures taking the side of the persecutors, the episode spirals out of control with tragic consequences that follow everyone down the years; none more so than Danny, whose life is given over to revenge.

This is a blazing and passionate story about the losing of innocence and the bitter gaining of adulthood. It is also a painfully acute account of a young man’s attempts to redeem himself from the ravages of guilt. In Franks’s darkly comic and beautifully made story, we meet a Dickensian gallery of the sinful and the saintly: the Gilberdykes, a nightmare family of civic snobs; Oliver’s extraordinary but difficult father, Benny Jacobs; the eccentric sculptor Seth Rawlings and countless others, each luminously brought to life by Franks’s poetic imagination. There are gilded entrepreneurs, divine musicians, pub shysters and middle-class vagrants in a teeming world that has seen off the upheavals of war but is now struggling with its own reinvention. As it makes its shocking and often farcical way towards the truth, The Sins of the Sons is not just a vivid social history of a fleeting time but also a profound study of what we pay to put the past in its place.

Paperback
378 pages
210 x 148 mm
£12.99
ISBN 978-0-9565575-1-3 

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Alan Franks has been a long established feature writer for The Times and has interviewed many top figures in the world of music (Paul McCartney, Leonard Cohen, Stephen Sondheim, Yehudi Menuhin, Philip Glass, Ravi Shankar, Andre Previn); theatre/film (Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Woody Allen, Mickey Rourke, Peter Hall, Jonathan Miller) and literature (Muriel Spark, James Baldwin, Elmore Leonard, Ian Rankin, Anthony Powell, Laurie Lee).

A collection of his Alan Franks’s Diary columns was published as a book, Real Life With Small Children Under Foot, which he read as a series on Radio 4. He has twice been nominated for a British Press Award.

Alan Franks’s previous novel, Boychester’s Bugle drew ecstatic reviews. The Times Literary Supplement called it 'splendidly funny.' For Alan Hollinghurst in The Observer, it resembled Keith Waterhouse, while The Tablet saw similarities with Flann O'Brien and early Kingsley Amis. The veteran farceur Tom Sharpe found it 'brilliantly comic.'

Going Over, a collection of short novels published in 2010 by Muswell Press opens with the winner of a national novella competition.

Franks is the author of many plays, including The Mother Tongue, which starred Prunella Scales and Gwen Taylor. ('English-Chekhov' wrote Sheridan Morley in The Spectator); The Edge of the Land, about the great floods of 1953, and Previous Convictions, a black domestic comedy about family duty and recession.

With the singer Patty Vetta he has released four albums of his songs, including The Wishfulness Waltz, which was recorded by Fairport Convention. He is currently collaborating as a lyricist with the saxophonist and composer Tim Whitehead who was current artist in residence in Tate Britain.

His poems have won several prizes, including the Wigtown Competition, Scotland’s largest. Unmade Roads, his most recent collection, includes his winning entries in the Plough and Petra Kenney competitions. He has been described, by the late John Rety, co-founder of Torriano Poetry, as 'a modern day Sydney Carter.'