The Mighty Franks: A Memoir

Michael Frank

A TELEGRAPH BOOK OF THE YEAR
A NEW STATESMAN BOOK OF THE YEAR
WINNER OF THE 2018 JQ WINGATE LITERARY PRIZE

A story at once extremely strange and entirely familiar – about families, innocence, art and love. This hugely enjoyable, totally unforgettable memoir is a classic in the making.

Michael’s family situation is complicated. His aunt is his father’s sister, who is married to his mother’s brother. In this unusually intertwined world, even his grandmothers share an apartment together for twelve conflicted years.

Most unusual of all is Michael’s Aunt Hankie. A gifted, glamorous screenwriter, she is a beauty with violet eyelids, a tower of hair and no children of her own, a force that Michael will spend his life alternately being drawn towards and desperately trying to escape.

A story of a magnetic figure and the boy held in her orbit, The Mighty Franks is for anyone who has struggled to find their voice amid the chaos of family life.

Reviews of The Mighty Franks: A Memoir

    • ‘The glory of this book is its richly evoked world … Michael is an Isherwood camera … I doubt you’ll read a better memoir this year. The Mighty Franks is full of humour and brittle irony. In Aunt Hankie, Frank has created a great new nonfictional character: an indelible wonder of dark depths and hypnotic high style’ Guardian
    • ‘A witty, moving account … beautifully written and timely ‘ TLS
    • ‘There is a lastingly sane quality to his riveting memoir, The Mighty Franks, that’s reminiscent of To Kill A Mockingbird’ The Telegraph
    • ‘Move Over, Royal Tenenbaums: Meet The Mighty Franks … probing and radiantly polished’ New York Times
    • ‘An utterly magical book. Michael Frank inherits Truman Capote’s glorious ability to recreate the past in an act of exquisite, knowing retrieval … I hung on every word, spying through his child’s eyes. This is intense and lyrical prose: I never wanted it to stop.’ Philip Hoare
    • ‘P.G. Wodehouse could not have invented Michael Frank’s aunt. An astonishing story of a relationship and a family that ends up the wrong side up and inside-out. Beautiful, strange and true.’ Ian Sansom
    • ‘Entertainingly, and sometimes beautifully, told. Frank, as his aunt once told him, can write’ Observer
    • ‘The Mighty Franks is very easy to love and very hard to put down.’ George Hodgman
    • ‘To paraphrase Tolstoy, interesting families are unhappy in mysterious ways, and in this subtle memoir full of hard-won wisdom, Michael Frank gives us an indelible portrait of his own.’ Judith Thurman
    • ‘Crackling with sorrow and wit, Michael Frank has written a gorgeous, moving and intensely compassionate memoir that will stay with me for a long, long time.’ Molly Antopol
    • ‘Be careful when you start reading The Mighty Franks since you won’t be able to stop. This portrait of an extraordinary family is a work of art.’ Jean Strouse
    • ‘Frank does a subtle job of evoking his larger-than life aunt Hankie, who both adored and isolated him’ Gaby Wood, Telegraph, Books of the Year