Published by HarperCollins
When taxi driver Tom Finn is almost jailed for confronting two burglars in his own home, he leaves broken Britain and takes his wife and children to live on the tropical island of Phuket, Thailand.
Phuket is all the Finn family dreamed of – a tropical paradise where the children swim with elephants, the gibbons sing love songs in the jungle, the Andaman Sea is like turquoise glass and this young family is free to grow.
But both man-made disaster and the unleashed forces of nature shatter this tropical idyll.
CATCHING THE SUN is a gripping, moving story of a family who go in search of Paradise – and end up discovering themselves.
Not a crime book, so not my usual read (as regular readers of this blog will know) but the perfect summer read for those of us wanting to escape the gloom and grey of England, either to sunnier climes or simply to switch off and relax with a great escapist read at home.
The author of seven previous novels, including the much celebrated and winner of book of the year prize in 1999 ‘Man and Boy’, Tony Parsons writes families, relationships and men so well, that you can’t help but get caught up in the story and literally get washed away by the tale. In Catching the Sun he writes from the perspective of taxi driver Tom Finn, a husband and father, keen to take his family away from the broken Britain we read of in every day’s newspapers, and to provide them a more idyllic life in Phuket.
The nicknamed ‘Travis Bickle of Barnsbury’ (after De Niro’s character in ‘Taxi Driver’) is desperate to escape his past and to improve the future for himself and for those he loves.
But, as with home in England, even in Phuket the family are troubled by outside forces, both from other people, including the employment within a real estate company into which Tom has placed himself, and to the brute force of nature which threatens to destroy everything they have built up when a savage Tsunami strikes the coast. No husband or father reading this will fail to recognise themselves in the struggles that Tom faces to protect and help his family grow in their new home, and it’s that strength of narrative that will keep the reader hooked. That and the perfect beach paradise which he describes – you will feel the sand beneath your toes, you will hear the waves crashing, you will hear the chatter and song of gibbons in the trees.
A heartfelt love-letter to Thailand, which although doesn’t shy away from the sad reality of what some visit the location, makes clear that there is much to be enjoyed and loved there. And whether through the descriptions of gibbons in the trees or turtles on the beach, the importance of family and striving to do the best possible for those you love rings loud and clear throughout.
A perfect summer getaway read.