I often see a bad press for Tony Parsons but I have always liked his unfussy, unpretentious prose.
It gets right down to brass tacks in terms of narrative pace and character but offers lovely and so-true insights into how people are.
Yes, he does over-do the family theme a bit and there are some recurrent plot devices that are a bit annoying but he is still a great read.
My favourite of his ‘family’ series is probably the earlier Man and Wife which has some embarrassingly close-to-home dialogue and scenes that will resonate with a lot of people.
If I’m going on holiday (remember that?!) or just got a quiet weekend on and I want a book that will hold my attention without too much effort, then I usually opt for the reliable unputdownable, TP.
I also like Tony Parsons but would only read him if I was on a long journey or something, just to pass the time. For a serious read, I would always go for a Jane Austen or Thomas Hardy. I like the sense of period they create and the characters have real depth although some of the prose can be a bit heavy-going.
They offer great foundations for writers – time, place and person are perfectly established in narratives that build and build. Not quite Hitchcock but the suspense they offer is a as good as any crime thriller.
I like Parsons. As you say his writing style is straightforward but still has some depth but I think he’s a bit of a one-trick pony. Those family-orientated books work very well but I’ve read a couple of other things of his (Catching the Sun) and a detective novel and they just limp along (I couldn’t finish the ‘thriller’) in unconvincing style.
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