Paul Sidey

The Book of Wag
  • The Book of Wag

  • Meet the richly eccentric Burton family: reigned over by the steadfast matriarch Harriet and surrounded by an equally peculiar cast of characters, their exploits are narrated in alternating voices by Wag, a World War I veteran, and his nephew Jack.

    But the ever-evolving London of the twentieth century is as much a character as the Burtons themselves, with the narrative taking us on a journey from the Western Front to World War II, through post-war 'civvy street' to the 1960s gangster era of the sadistic Richardson Gang, and ultimately to the political tumult of the 1970s.

    Drawing on his own uncle's handwritten World War I memoir and his recollection of family stories, author Paul Sidey has created a seamless fusion of family history, fact and inspired invention.

    At times funny and tender, at other times violent and dramatic, The Book of Wag is the portrait of one family as they navigate the multi-faceted landscape of the London of another time.

Paul Sidey was a greatly respected and much loved editor who started his publishing career at Penguin in 1970. In 1980 he moved to Hutchinson, where he worked as an Editorial Director until his retirement in 2012. Among the authors he worked closely with over the years were Ruth Rendell, Angela Carter, Graham Swift, Olivia Manning, John Lahr, John Mortimer and Willie Donaldson. His lifelong love of the cinema led him to publish the memoirs of many film directors and actors, including Richard Attenborough, Anthony Sher, François Truffaut, John Mills, Charlton Heston and Anna Massey. When his children were young, he published two volumes of poems for children, My Brother is an Alien and Dinosaur Diner. After he retired, he wrote three novels based on Arthurian and Greek legend, and a few months before his death in September 2014, he completed his remarkable semi-autobiographical family novel, The Book of Wag.