Mother's Boy

Mother's Boy

A Writer's Beginnings


'One of the all-time great memoirs' Daily Telegraph
'Wonderful...candid, shrewd and moving' William Boyd
'Laugh-out-loud glorious and uproarious' Simon Schama

Howard Jacobson's funny, revealing and tender memoir of his path to becoming a writer.

Howard Jacobson was forty when his first novel was published. In Mother's Boy, he traces the life that brought him there. Born into a working-class Jewish family in 1940s Manchester, he did not lack encouragement or subject matter. Jacobson takes us from childhood and studying at Cambridge, through landing in Sydney as a maverick young professor, and on to his first marriage and the birth of his son. Later, he begins new - and often surprising - ventures in places as disparate as London, Wolverhampton, Boscastle and Melbourne.

Infused with bittersweet memories of Jacobson's parents and friends, this is the story of a writer's beginnings, and of learning to understand who you are before you can become the writer you were meant to be.

'Hilariously brilliant' David Baddiel

'Howard Jacobson brilliantly transforms calamity into rip-roaring comedy' Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday


  • A wonderful memoir, written with great linguistic brio. Candid, shrewd and moving - a classic of its kind.
    William Boyd

About the author

Howard Jacobson

Howard Jacobson has written seventeen novels and six works of non-fiction. He won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Award in 2000 for The Mighty Walzer and then again in 2013 for Zoo Time. In 2010 he won the Man Booker Prize for The Finkler Question; he was also shortlisted for the prize in 2014 for J.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more