The Wrong Boy

The Wrong Boy

Paperback

By (author) Willy Russell

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  • Publisher: Black Swan
  • Format: Paperback | 512 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 36mm | 360g
  • Publication date: 2 July 2001
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0552996459
  • ISBN 13: 9780552996457
  • Sales rank: 148,202

Product description

The Dewsbury Desperadoes are on their way to Pontefract for a gig at the Allied Butchers' & Architects' Club. The Girl with the Chestnut Eyes is on her way to somewhere. And Raymond is heading for Gulag Grimshy. Raymond Marks is a normal boy, from a normal family, in a normal northern town. His dad left home after falling in love with a five-string banjo; his fun-hating grandma believes she should have married Jean-Paul Sartre: '1 could never read his books, but y' could tell from his picture, there was nothing frivolous about John-Paul Sartre.' Felonious Uncle Jason and Appalling Aunty Paula are lusting after the satellite dish; frogs are flattened on Failsworth Boulevard; and Sickening Sonia's being sick in the majestic cathedral of words. Raymond Marks is a normal boy, from a normal family, in a normal northern town. Until, on the banks of the Rochdale Canal, the Flytrapping craze begins and, for Raymond and his mam, nothing is ever quite so normal again. In Raymond, prize-winning and internationally acclaimed playwright Willy Russell has created an unforgettable character to rival his Shirley Valentine and educated Rita. The Wrong Boy is his extraordinary first novel.

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Author information

Willy Russell was born in Whiston, near Liverpool, and left school at fifteen. He worked as a ladies' hairdresser for six years, stacked stockings at Bear Brand, cleaned girders at Ford, before getting into writing, first as a songwriter then as a playwright. He is the author of, amongst others, the multi-award-winning plays - later made into films - Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine, and the award-winning West End musical hits Blood Brothers and John, Paul, George, Ringo and Bert. He and his family live in Liverpool.

Review quote

"A big-hearted, wonderfully funny and engrossing saga." The Mirror "Unusual, funny, unsettling and rich with sadness." The Times "A warm, funny, poignant story. I loved The Wrong Boy - and so will you." Sunday Telegraph "A comic masterpiece." -- Bel Mooney Mail on Sunday "Willy Russell's triumph is to have created an unforgettable character, both unique and an Everyman." Mail on Sunday

Editorial reviews

Hard to believe that this is Willy Russell's first novel. Rich in Liverpudlian wit and wisdom from the first line. Told as a series of letters to the singer-songwriter Morrissey, the story centres around the 19-year-old Raymond Marks and his frequently frustrated attempts to get to Grimsby to take up a labouring job that he doesn't really want. At each halting step along the way, Raymond encounters carpet fitters, cowboys and some distinctly hostile Rotarians, among others. Hilarious and diverting though these encounters are, they are simply a diversion. The real heart of the story lies in his autobiographical essays to his morose songwriting hero. His troubles really began when he was just 11, when he invented a game called 'flytrapping', a game so ludicrously bizarre that only a child could have conceived it in all innocence. From there on, it is a downward spiral that includes Transvestite Nativity plays, the defamation of Princess Leia, false accusations of homosexuality and worse. Raymond's only ally in his war against society in general (and his Uncle Jason in particular) is his Gran. It is her death that finally tips the scales and leads ultimately to this most sporadic and unlikely of road trips. In common with all Russell's work, there is a serious, brittle core of acute social observation underlying the comedy, and Raymond is a real, fallible protagonist who deserves our sympathy even as he inspires our laughter. A must for established Russell fans and newcomers alike. (Kirkus UK)