The Family Men by Catherine Harris

The-Family-Men-(online)_0A novel based around of AFL legends wouldn’t normally be my cup of tea but the lovely Elizabeth from Black Inc assured me that it wouldn’t be a problem so I gave it a shot. It’s about the men of the Furey clan; arthritic, dissolute patriarch Alan and his two sons, confident, charismatic Matt and the shy ‘rising star’ Harry. Harry is the focus of the story as he tries to cope with the burden of the family history in the game, both the good parts and also the more unsavoury aspects of Alan’s past behaviour. Repeated drunken episodes and drug fuelled mishaps culminated in a tragedy from which Alan and his marriage never fully recovered.
As Harry prepares to go to the the annual Sportsman’s Night about which the mantra ‘What happens at Sportsman’s night stays at Sportsman’s Night’ is a constant refrain, he is becoming increasingly disillusioned with the culture and behaviour of the club. After the evening, Harry has a very bad feeling about what happened there.
The Family Men is about loyalty, family and the unfortunate consequences of the sometimes bizarre and frightening aspects of being famous and untouchable because of sporting prowess. It is especially relevant in Melbourne given the frequent exposure of bad behaviour from AFL players. A good story and a salutary read.
$30.

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