Friday 11 March 2022

#BlogTour My Own Worst Enemy by Robert Edric

It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour My Own Worst Enemy by Robert Edric.

About the Author

Robert Edric was born in 1956. His novels include Winter Garden (James Tait Black Prize winner, 1986), A New Ice Age (Guardian Prize Runner-up, 1986), The Book of the Heathen (W H Smith Literary Award, 2000), Peacetime and Gathering the Water (both Booker Prize-longlisted) and In Zodiac Light, shortlisted for the 2010 International IMPAC award. He lives in Yorkshire.

About the book

Robert Edric is a widely celebrated novelist, winner of the James Tait Black Prize and W H Smith Literary Award, and with nominations from the Booker Prize and Guardian Prize. He now applies his trademark candour to his first wry, honest and moving memoir of a now-vanished era of working-class 1960s Sheffield.

My Own Worst Enemy explores the relationship between a touchy, overbearing and tragicomic bully of a father and a son whose acceptance to grammar school puts him on another track entirely.

In clear-eyed but compassionate prose, Robert Edric vividly depicts this lost era of working-men’s clubs; of tight-knit communities in factory towns; and of a time when a woman’s place was only in the home. He brings to colourful life his family, both immediate and extended – over which hovers the barely-repressed frustration and anger of his own father.

My Own Worst Enemy is a brilliantly specific portrait of both a particular time and place and a universal story of childhood and family, and the ways they can go right or wrong.


I think it's important to view the minutiae of Edric's relationship with his father and his roots from a broader perspective. When you grow up in working class surroundings in a working class family and endeavour to 'better' yourself, and I say that with the greatest irony, because the class structures determine that view of course, stepping outside of your circle and into a different one comes with certain advantages and disadvantages. 

A working class boy who rises from one class to another through an academic path, thereby possibly entering the middle class, upper middle or even upper - he enters a complex structure which closes and opens doors. The structure is also an unforgiving master. The working class no longer accepts the person who has entered the upper level, and the next circle will never fully accept the working class boy as one of their own.

It helps make sense of the fractious relationships and perhaps give a different slant on things. I've read the Guardian's elitist incomprehensible fawning, but then perhaps you have to have lived or seen it to make the right connections. Of course, in the end the only person who can talk with any authority on his memoir is Edric - I do wonder what his father's view on everything would be. 

The father who saw his son as the emerging elitist, the person looking down on him, instead of being proud of the accomplishments. Instead of acknowledging the drive and intellect, the aforementioned becomes the grain of sand in the eye that irritates on a constant basis. Of course that doesn't negate any pre-existing predilection to abuse those you allegedly love and care for, it just adds fuel to the inner anger. 

I found the emotional disassociation in the memoir quite interesting, but then perhaps that is a coping mechanism learnt very early on to deal with the contentious and dysfunctional relationship between father and son - one that still looms over him at times.

It's a dry, factual account of someone dipping into their beginnings. An attempt at closure, to comprehend, and of course give readers the key to the man behind many excellent reads.

Buy My Own Worst Enemy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Swift Press pub date 24 Feb. 2022. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Swift Press.

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