Not My Father's Son - A Family Memoir

Author(s): Alan Cumming


Alan Cumming grew up in the grip of a man who held his family hostage, someone who meted out violence with a frightening ease, who waged a silent war with himself that sometimes spilled over onto everyone around him. That man was Alan's father, Alex Cumming. Alex was the dark, enigmatic heart of Cumming family life. But he was not the only mystery. Alan's maternal grandfather, Tommy Darling, had disappeared to the Far East after the Second World War. The last time Alan's mother saw her father she was eight years old. When she was thirteen, the family was informed that he had died in an accidental shooting. Curious to explore this second mystery, Alan committed to filming an episode of the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? Then out of the blue, his father, who Alan and his brother had not seen or spoken to for more than a decade, called. He had a secret he had to share, one that would shock his son to his very core and set in motion a journey that would change Alan's life forever. At times suspenseful, at times deeply moving, but always brave and honest, Not My Father's Son is a powerful story about embracing the best aspects of the past and triumphantly pushing the darkness aside.

Product Information

'One of the most memorable, heart-stopping autobiographies I have ever read' STEPHEN FRY

Winner of Attitude Magazine's Book of the Year (UK). Short-listed for The Biographers' Club Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Award 2015 (UK).

* Equal parts memoir, whodunnit and manual for living, Not My Father's Son is a beautifully written, honest look at the forces of blood and bone that make us what we are, and how we make ourselves. I was completely sucked in -- NEIL GAIMAN * What a shattering, compelling and extraordinary story Alan Cumming has to tell. And he does so with such style and grace ... Beautifully and cunningly structured, Not My Father's Son is one of the most memorable, heart-stopping autobiographies I have ever read -- STEPHEN FRY * Do you know the old line "I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me"? Alan Cumming's moving memoir Not My Father's Son is all that and more. This is a beautiful book-sad, funny, haunting, surprising, suspenseful, gut-wrenching, endearing. It will linger inside of you long after you turn the final page -- HARLAN COBEN author of New York Times bestsellers MISSING YOU and SIX YEARS * In beautiful, honest, arresting prose, he offers a tale you'll never forget. A real diamond of a book. -- ANDREW O'HAGAN * Incredibly affecting -- DAMIAN BARR, Books of the Year Herald * A poignant chronicle of damage sustained in youth and his recovery -- MARIELLA FROSTRUP Observer * Powerful ... the result is both heart-breaking and brave ... A thoroughly gripping read, one that keeps its biggest revelation until the very end Sunday Times * A clear-eyed, often moving account of both his terrifying childhood and his recent attempts to come to terms with his past [...] Not My Father's Son moves elegantly and with an occasional dash of humour between Cumming's childhood and the revelations of the more recent past [...] memorable Chicago Tribune * One of the most fun people in show business Time * Cumming's eccentric style and assured voice shine brightly on every page, while escorting readers and fans on a memorable journey that is simultaneously insightful, brave, moving, and witty Book List * Not My Father's Son shows Cumming to be a particularly skilled storyteller. His personal story is spun out in a thrillingly mysterious way ... in this deeply touching memoir, Cumming has certainly marked himself out as one of our bravest and most perceptive writers, and an unexpected literary talent The List * Powerful and shocking ... That he can write isn't a surprise ... He delves into his own history and leaves no stone unturned, no dark corner unprodded ... What Cumming knows better than most is that you can never tell from the surface what's going on beneath Scotland on Sunday * An open and honest memoir with some extraordinary twists Easyjet Traveller * Powerful Big Issue * Compelling ... a frank, twisting book ... a page-turner Metro * A brave and thoughtful book Spectator * Cumming's bravery is breathtaking ... this is a brave book, airing fundamental agonies of the human condition with as light a touch as is possibly possible Sunday Express * Best of all, [Not My Father's Son's] emotional intelligence is high Glasgow Sunday Herald * Cumming is a good writer and keeps us guessing ... the book grips like a neo-noir thriller ... He knits together the various strands of his life with remarkable assurance. The occasional flashes of lightness in the dark, the few, very few, happy times with his father glow like embers, only to be extinguished by the overwhelming memory of the dark beast that kept him in a constant state of terror ... What might have been a misery memoir is anything but. The bracing honesty and humour plus the fact that there is not a scintilla of self-pity makes this a tremendously encouraging book Daily Express * A poignant chronicle of damage sustained in youth and his recovery -- MARIELLA FROSTRUP Observer * This year's best memoir The List * A haunting family history woven with empathy for his soldier grandfather but without a trace of self-pity about his abusive father Independent on Sunday, Best Memoirs of 2014 * A brilliantly vivid and heartrending account of Cumming's early life, interspersed with some well-observed, comic and intriguing scenes from his more recent past Sunday Business Post * A great read Connaught Telegraph

Alan Cumming is an award-winning actor, singer, writer, producer and director. He recently starred in an acclaimed one-man staging of Macbeth on Broadway, and appears on the Emmy Award-winning television show The Good Wife. He won a Tony Award for his portrayal of the Emcee in the Broadway musical Cabaret, a role he has reprised in 2014. He hosts PBS Masterpiece Mystery and has appeared in numerous films, including Spy Kids, Titus, X2: X-Men United, The Anniversary Party, Any Day Now and Eyes Wide Shut. He is also the author of a novel, Tommy's Tale.

General Fields

  • : 9781782115465
  • : Canongate Books Ltd
  • : Canongate Books Ltd
  • : April 2015
  • : 198mm X 129mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : May 2015
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 294
  • : integrated b&w illustrations throughout
  • : Alan Cumming
  • : Paperback
  • : Main ed
  • : en
  • : 792.028092