Tony Parsons, Author . Atria $24 (345p) ISBN 978-0-7434-5664-7

This third novel from the author of the immensely appealing Man and Boy is the amusing story of sad sack Alfie, who has returned to London from Hong Kong following the death of his wife, Rose, the one and only true love of his life, in a scuba diving accident. Alfie, 34, is given to making sensitive, introspective remarks such as "she was my reason" and "That's what love did to me. Love messed up my heart." An affable enough fellow, he's barely living life in his skin as an English language teacher at Churchill's International School, narcissistically sleeping with his students while trying to cope with his parents' breakup and his grandmother's illness and death. Of course, he gradually comes out of his sleepwalking existence to recognize the error of his ways and begin down a path of spiritual fulfillment that includes tai chi instruction and the insight of professional TV wrestler the Slab and his book, Smell the Fear, He-Bitch . There are some lovely moments in the novel, when the author subtly reveals the details of Alfie's loss, mixed in with some clever humor, such as when he plays on the class differences between Alfie's lawyer pal Josh and Alfie's cleaning woman girlfriend, a romance that heads somewhat predictably in the direction of Pygmalion and Educating Rita . At its best, the novel is enjoyable fluff. One only wishes the author had created in Alfie a more dynamic character worthier of the reader's sympathies. (Mar. 23)

Reviewed on: 02/16/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-7434-8913-3
Hardcover - 330 pages - 978-0-00-226182-1
Audio Product - 978-0-00-712683-5
Paperback - 378 pages - 978-0-00-651481-7
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-7432-3609-6
Hardcover - 330 pages - 978-0-00-712614-9
Hardcover - 336 pages - 978-0-00-713569-1
Show other formats
Discover what to read next