Winner of the Whitbread Special Prize for Fiction, Barbara Trapido's debut novel Brother of the More Famous Jack (1982) is a story of first love, heartbreak and high spirits.
As the book opens, Katherine, our heroine, is but 18 and a fresher. She strikes up a friendship with her professor, enough to be invited to his chaotic home, where she meets his wife (in the act of giving birth to child number six), and his two sons, Jonathan, and his older brother Roger. Altogether, suburban Katherine has never quite seen anything like it, and she's never seen anything like Roger.
The story of Katherine and Roger's relationship, cruel break-up and its aftermath is hugely ... real. It's also very funny, very English and in places sad. But there's more. Katherine starts out by falling in love not only with Roger but with his entire family. Ten years later and Rome (where she flees to nurse a broken heart) has made its mark on her. She is wiser, more sophisticated, almost a different person and yet still owes a debt to this eccentric, opinionated family. Allowing herself to be drawn back into her past, Katherine finally discovers her future....