Roger Piper is married, middle-aged and middle-rung; he is a man who has elevated failure to an art form. His wife thinks he is up all night writing a novel.
In fact, he's writing a suicide note, a long farewell letter to Angela Caxton, the girl with the marmalade-coloured hair, with whom he has shared a wild but hopeless affair.
Our Song traces their entanglement from its carefree beginnings to its inevitable yet unexpected tragic end.
Pouring out his heart, the former advertising executive - his career, as well as much else, sacrificed to the consuming trauma of his obsessive relationship - looks back upon the astonishing helter-skelter experience of falling unsuitably but violently in love.
About the Author
In a long and highly successful career, Keith Waterhouse has published thirteen novels, including Billy Liar (which has been filmed and staged) and Our Song (also staged), seven non-fiction books and seven collections of journalism. He has written widely for television, cinema and the theatre, including the highly successful play Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell, and writes an award-winning column for the Daily Mail. He has also published two acclaimed memoirs, City Lights and Streets Ahead .
When this barbed and witty novel was originally published in 1988, it earned a place on the Sunday Express Book of the Year shortlist for its hugely prolific author, a man equally at home in journalism, autobiography, fiction and non-fiction. Chronicling the development of a compelling yet infuriating relationship between Roger Piper and the much younger Angela Caxton, it takes the form of a very candid confession. The first-person ruminations unfold, provoking groans and rueful shakes of the head as the previously sensible Roger descends into the inevitable spiral associated with such all-consuming affairs of the heart and the flesh. Roger's wife Judith finds one of his 'insufficiently incinerated' letters to the former target of his affections, which he swiftly explains away as nothing more than discarded dialogue from a novel he's working on. He then embarks on a mostly bitter, sometimes sweet, precis of how and where he first met Angela, a 'right little cow' with a promising career as 'a full-time gold-digger', who provokes disapproval in everyone except the many men she ensnares with her well-worn wiles. Discovering her and his growing desire for her is perfect for Roger, who's very much in the middle of everything: life, management, age, the road - you name it, he's scathing about his position in it. He unlovingly tells of a world full of what-ifs and under-achieving double-glazing advertising accounts, of being an outsider witnessing the sexual frisson among the young bucks in crushingly crowded West End wine bars. A jumble of contradictory emotions is brilliantly portrayed by Waterhouse, who manages to maintain our sympathy with poor old Roger, who always seems to be aware that he really should know better and just give in to his 'craving for the clean taste of Ovaltine'. (Kirkus UK)
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 1st January 1988
Dimensions (cm): 19.800 x 12.900 x 1.500
Weight (kg): 0.190