What happens when you only know your dad when you’re a young boy and then, one day, when you are middle-aged, he phones to say he’d like to see you again before he dies?
In the space of one year, Ian Clayton makes a voyage around China, America and his father to ponder the familiar questions: Is blood thicker than water? Does it matter who teaches us so long as we learn? How do we let go of something that we never really had in the first place?
With characteristic storytelling, wit and good humour, Ian Clayton reflects on a lifelong search for a father figure, skipping across the generations to weave a tale of how we relate, what we do with what we’ve got and what happens when some things just don’t work out the way we want them to.
‘A moving story of reconnection… littered with laugh out loud quips.’ – Guardian
‘Ian Clayton has an unshakeable belief in the power of stories to bring people together, coming as he does from that great tradition of storytellers that includes the likes of Stan Barstow, Alan Sillitoe and his hero Barry Hines. Song For My Father reverberates with warmth, humour and joy and it’s a story people can relate to.’ – Yorkshire Post
‘Another humble masterpiece from our finest accidental social historian. Ian Clayton writes with such natural warmth, humour, joyous attention to detail, and – above all – humanity, that I, as a lesser writer, ought to chuck my laptop in the bin.’ – Andy Kershaw
‘Song For My Father breaks your heart then puts it back together, often with the kindness of strangers. Clayton unearths the poetry of the everyday and his journey makes us re-evaluate our own. A rare thing, a book that makes us laugh, cry and question.’ – Alice Nutter
‘This is a song for four generations of fathers, mothers and the whole tapestry of humanity in a small mining town in the North of England; a kaleidoscope of characters which are brilliantly illuminated as Ian searches for a true perception of why we are what we are. I envy his talent.’ – John Finch, creator of Sam and Family at War