Dadland : A Journey into Uncharted Territory
Keggie Carew grew up in the gravitational field of an unorthodox father who lived on his wits and dazzling charm. As his memory begins to fail, she embarks on a quest to unravel his story, and soon finds herself in a far more consuming place than she had bargained for. Tom Carew was a maverick, a left-handed stutterer, a law unto himself. As a member of an elite SOE unit he was parachuted behind enemy lines to raise guerrilla resistance in France, then Burma, in the Second World War. But his wartime exploits are only the start of it...Dadland is a manhunt. Keggie takes us on a spellbinding journey, in peace and war, into surprising and shady corners of history, her rackety English childhood, the poignant breakdown of her family, the corridors of dementia and beyond. As Keggie pieces Tom - and herself - back together again, she celebrates the technicolour life of an impossible, irresistible, unstoppable man.
A story of war and grief, jealousy and madness, mischief and fierce love -- and a poignant exploration of what becomes of us as we grow old
"Dadland, by Keggie Carew, is being tipped for award-winning breakout success in the vein of H is for Hawk" -- Sunday Express Jon Coates "I was so absorbed and moved by Dadland I haven't been able to read anything else. It is beautifully written -- deft and funny and so tender -- but I have also come away knowing more about history, more about dementia, more about men, more about daughters, more about love, family, sheds, diaries, an inquisitive mind and peeing in plastic bottles. I loved it. I really did." -- Rachel Joyce "Dadland is a wonderful, haunting and beautifully written memoir unlike any other I have ever read. While it is the journey of one man's life, with his wartime triumphs, post-war disappointments and eventual decline into dementia, it is also the voyage of his daughter as she tries to reclaim the father lost to her and unravel the past she never knew. I found myself laughing out loud at times and, at others, unable to hold back the tears. It is a profoundly rewarding and life-affirming book of many layers and a deeply moving homage to that extraordinary generation who lived, loved and fought through the Second World War. An absolutely stunning book" -- James Holland "A mesmerising performance by a natural storyteller gifted with the most seductive material possible, in the wild and wonderful life of her exasperating Irish father. Pain and annoyance is transmuted into pure narrative gold, as Keggie Carew interrogates the legend of this wartime adventurer and the bitter comedy of his domestic relationships and his late decline. A brave, risk-taking tale that alarms, delights and moves. As soon as you come to the end, you want to start again, to see if those things really happened" -- Iain Sinclair "Compelling" -- Charlotte Heathcote Daily Express
Keggie Carew has lived in London, West Cork, Barcelona, Texas and New Zealand. Before writing, her career was in contemporary art. She lives near Salisbury. Tom Carew was born in Dublin in 1919. He served in the Jedburgh unit of the Special Operations Executive in the Second World War. The Times of India called him 'Lawrence of Burma' and 'the Mad Irishman'. He married three times, and had four children. He died in 2009.