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  • Not My Father's Son

  • A Family Memoir
  • By: Alan Cumming
  • Narrated by: Alan Cumming
  • Length: 6 hrs and 27 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (637 ratings)

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Not My Father's Son

By: Alan Cumming
Narrated by: Alan Cumming
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Editorial reviews

Tremendously moving and eloquently written, Alan Cumming’s Not My Father’s Son is a brutally honest memoir of the extraordinary life he has led. In this autobiography audiobook edition of his novel, Cumming narrates through the journey that has been his life - from a young boy with an abusive father to the icon he is today. Heartfelt, inspirational and awakening, Cumming’s story is one that stays with the listener long after the final word is spoken. This book is not just for fans of this incredible man but for anyone who is touched by the emancipation of a child from the grasps of a violent beginning. Available now from Audible.

Publisher's Summary

Alan Cumming grew up in the grip of a man who held his family hostage, someone who meted out violence with a frightening ease, who waged a silent war with himself that sometimes spilled over onto everyone around him. That man was Alan's father, Alex Cumming.

Alex was the dark, enigmatic heart of Cumming family life. But he was not the only mystery. Alan's maternal grandfather, Tommy Darling, had disappeared to the Far East after the Second World War. The last time Alan's mother saw her father she was eight years old. When she was 13, the family was informed that he had died in an accidental shooting.

Curious to explore this second mystery, Alan committed to filming an episode of the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? Then out of the blue, his father, who Alan and his brother had not seen or spoken to for more than a decade, called. He had a secret he had to share, one that would shock his son to his very core and set in motion a journey that would change Alan's life forever.

At times suspenseful, at times deeply moving, but always brave and honest, Not My Father's Son is a powerful story about embracing the best aspects of the past and triumphantly pushing the darkness aside.

©2014 Alan Cumming (P)2014 Canongate Books Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Equal parts memoir, whodunnit and manual for living, Not My Father's Son is a beautifully written, honest look at the forces of blood and bone that make us what we are, and how we make ourselves. I was completely sucked in." (Neil Gaiman)
"What a shattering, compelling and extraordinary story Alan Cumming has to tell. And he does so with such style and grace . . . Beautifully and cunningly structured, Not My Father's Son is one of the most memorable, heart-stopping autobiographies I have ever read." (Stephen Fry)
"Do you know the old line "I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me"? Alan Cumming's moving memoir Not My Father's Son is all that and more. This is a beautiful book-sad, funny, haunting, surprising, suspenseful, gut-wrenching, endearing. It will linger inside of you long after you turn the final page." (Harlan Coben, author of New York Times bestsellers Missing You and Six Years)
"In beautiful, honest, arresting prose, he offers a tale you'll never forget. A real diamond of a book." (Andrew O'Hagan)
"A clear-eyed, often moving account of both his terrifying childhood and his recent attempts to come to terms with his past [. . .] Not My Father's Son moves elegantly and with an occasional dash of humour between Cumming's childhood and the revelations of the more recent past [. . .] memorable." ( Chicago Tribune)
"One of the most fun people in show business" ( Time)
"Cumming's eccentric style and assured voice shine brightly on every page, while escorting readers and fans on a memorable journey that is simultaneously insightful, brave, moving, and witty." ( Book List)
"Equal parts memoir, whodunnit and manual for living, Not My Father's Son is a beautifully written, honest look at the forces of blood and bone that make us what we are, and how we make ourselves. I was completely sucked in." (Neil Gaiman)
"What a shattering, compelling and extraordinary story Alan Cumming has to tell. And he does so with such style and grace.... Beautifully and cunningly structured, Not My Father's Son is one of the most memorable, heart-stopping autobiographies I have ever read." (Stephen Fry)
"Do you know the old line 'I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me?' Alan Cumming's moving memoir Not My Father's Son is all that and more. This is a beautiful book-sad, funny, haunting, surprising, suspenseful, gut-wrenching, endearing. It will linger inside of you long after you turn the final page." (Harlan Coben, author of New York Times best sellers Missing You and Six Years)

What listeners say about Not My Father's Son

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Don't think twice! Buy this book!

Loved every second of it. Gutted its finished. Incredibly well written, read & produced. So beautiful!

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8 people found this helpful

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  • Jo
  • 29-03-2018

Couldn’t stop listening

I loved every part, an amazing journey so beautifully written and read and I feel honoured to share Alans experiences both highs and lows . Thank you

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2 people found this helpful

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Left me wanting more

What a brave man to have come through all that cruelty and survived . I won’t say unharmed you couldn’t possibly. Thank god he had a lot of help and now has a happy life. Good luck Alan

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1 person found this helpful

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A beautiful story, wonderfully read

This book was so touching, and Alan is a bit of a writer. His poetic descriptions of his surroundings and his effortless shift between then and now were a joy to listen to, not least because of his lovely, mellifluous voice.

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Enlightening and moving all at the same time.

Job well done, Alan Cumming! Well paced and a nice little peak into another person's life.

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So honest and refreshing

Beautifully written and narrated, could listen to Allan all day. Sad but honest story, also uplifting in parts. Very easy to listen to

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Raw Honesty was absolutely engaging

The storyline that the author took was written in a way to demonstrate how utterly unacceptable physical or emotional violence/abuse is. I did not want to stop listening. Everything we were told and the timing was brilliantly orchestrated. Well done Alan Cumming you are a born storyteller.

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  • Rh
  • 09-02-2024

Compassionate

A compassionate man with a sonorous and beautiful voice sharing in a nuanced way the complexity of human relationships and how our actions and accounts shift and change over the life course.

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Scottish dallas

Well this was unexpectedly a racing mystery thriller of a memoir! Couldn’t have devoured it quicker to get to the bottom of the riddles

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Thank you for sharing, Alan

An extraordinary collection of life stories woven together around and within the beautiful, gentle human who is Alan Cumming. Love love love!
PS Next time he’s in drag, I’ll be sure to look at his cyclist’s calves 😍

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