The Boy With the Topknot: A Memoir of Love, Secrets and Lies in Wolverhampton is a hilarious and heart-rending tale of what it is like to grow up different in modern Britain.
"It's 1979, I'm three years old, and like all breakfast times during my youth it begins with Mum combing my hair, a ritual for which I have to sit down on the second-hand, floral-patterned settee, and lean forward, like I'm presenting myself for execution."
For Sathnam Sanghera, growing up in Wolverhampton in the eighties was a confusing business. On the one hand, these were the heady days of George Michael mix-tapes, Dallas on TV and, if he was lucky, the occasional Bounty Bar. On the other, there was his wardrobe of tartan smocks, his 30p-an-hour job at the local sewing factory and the ongoing challenge of how to tie the perfect top-knot.
And then there was his family, whose strange and often difficult behaviour he took for granted until, at the age of twenty-four, Sathnam made a discovery that changed everything he ever thought he knew about them. Equipped with breathtaking courage and a glorious sense of humour, he embarks on a journey into their extraordinary past - from his father's harsh life in rural Punjab to the steps of the Wolverhampton Tourist Office - trying to make sense of a life lived among secrets.
Praise for The Boy with the Topknot:
'I absolutely loved it. Heartbreaking and wonderful. He writes beautifully' Maggie O'Farrell
'Could not be more enjoyable, engaging or moving' Observer
'Tragic, funny and disturbing. It will challenge you, and may even change you' Carole Angier, Independent
Sathnam Sanghera was born in 1976. He is an award-winning journalist who was previously chief feature writer at The Financial Times and now works for The Times. He lives in London.
Published in hardback as If You Don't Know Me by Now