Mirror Book Club reviews Pete Paphides, Joseph Knox, Robin Muir, Joanna Trollope

In the Mirror Book Club's rundown of the week's best reads, we review a wonderful, deeply affecting memoir

A bad-boy cop stars in a dark read.

A book about Cecil Beaton accompanies the major new National Portrait Gallery exhibition.

And Joanna Trollope is back, capturing the complexities of family life like only she can.

Broken Greek, by Pete Paphides

Quercus, £20

This wonderful memoir tells the often very funny coming-of-age story of a boy struggling to find his voice, and finding salvation in pop music. For Paphides, who was mute between the ages of four and seven, music offers an escape from his parents’ fish and chip shop in Birmingham, and from his father’s rages.

The book is packed with brilliant descriptions of the singles he bought and the songs he taped off the radio, from Abba and Brotherhood of Man to Dexys Midnight Runners.


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He also has a lovely line in wistful nostalgia, recalling treasures such as Blue Riband biscuits and Dial-a-Disc.

But Paphides also owns up to his most vulnerable feelings and this honesty makes Broken Greek a deeply affecting read.

BY EITHNE FARRY

The Sleepwalker, by Joseph Knox

Black Swan, £8.99

DC Aidan Waits is the bad-boy Manchester cop who makes other maverick fictional policemen look like Dixon of Dock Green.

Aidan guards a notorious killer dying in hospital, hoping he will reveal the whereabouts of his last victim. Then a horrific attack leaves the killer dead, and Aidan is beset by bullies and blackmailers. A storyline about Aidan reconnecting with his estranged family adds emotional depth to an unrepentantly dark read.

BY JAKE KERRIDGE

Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things, by Robin Muir

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National Portrait Gallery, £35

In the early days of his career, Vogue photographer Cecil Beaton had little time for stark reality in his photographs. He tried to make his work “as fantastic, whimsical and amusing as possible”.

It made him the perfect chronicler of the Bright Young Things, the rip-roaring aristocrats, artists and society beauties who embraced hedonism in the wake of the First World War – and this book accompanies the major new National Portrait Gallery exhibition.

BY EITHNE FARRY

Mum & Dad, by Joanna Trollope

Macmillan, £18.99

Gus and Monica left the UK 25 years ago to run a vineyard in Spain. Then Gus suffers a stroke.

Of their grown-up children, Sebastian and Kate are wrapped up in their own problems but the youngest, Jake, dashes to Spain to manage the family business.

This insightful novel examines the problems that arise when parents age and children try to take charge. No one captures the complexities of family life better than Trollope.

BY EMMA LEE-POTTER

Join the Mirror Book Club!

Each month we choose a paperback we think you’ll enjoy, either fiction or non-fiction.

When you’ve read it, we’d love you to join our Facebook group and tell us what you thought, good or bad.

■ Current Mirror Book Club read: Conviction by Denise Mina

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