The Tap Dancer

by Andrew Barrow

On Sale: 07/20/2023

The Tap Dancer

Enlarge Book Cover

The Tap Dancer

by Andrew Barrow

On Sale: 07/20/2023


About the Book

‘My favourite novel and one I wish I’d written.’ ALAN BENNETT

Winner of the McKitterick Prize for best first novel by an author aged over 40, and the Hawthornden Prize for imaginative literature.

Everyone craves retirement from the Civil Service, don’t they? That time for an ageing patriarch to enjoy the fruits of a well-earned pension and the respect of his family; maybe even to indulge in a love of music halls and metropolitan life. If only people would listen and do as they were told…

His fourth son William, the long-suffering narrator, is the constant butt of his father’s jokes and victim of his brothers’ indifference. But as death, divorce and other darker dramas follow, father and son slowly establish a strange harmony.

Critical Praise

‘It’s hilariously funny; it’s also really weird – a bit like English people.’

India Knight

‘There’s no other novel quite like it. Andrew Barrow has the most curious, in both senses, comic ear and, as if by magic, can turn everyday speech into the stuff of sublime comedy.’

Craig Brown

‘Andrew Barrow’s The Tap Dancer … must be my favourite novel and one I wish I’d written.’

Alan Bennett

‘Andrew Barrow’s first novel is reminiscent of John Mortimer’s A Voyage Round My Father. Both are portraits of ageing patriarchs whose behaviour is outrageously self-centred but who retain a place in their children’s affections by their sheer eccentricity.’

Sunday Telegraph

‘A comic masterpiece … Andrew Barrow’s insight into the minutiae of English family life is absolutely brilliant … his ear for dialogue is matchless … this is a great literary creation.’


‘Weird but wonderful first novel … brilliantly funny … horribly true.’

Harpers & Queen

‘A magnificent creation … Could rank alongside Mr Pooter and Nancy Mitford’s Uncle Matthew.’


‘All the characters, even the minor ones, are perfectly realised, thanks largely to Barrow’s remarkable skill at pinpointing the social and psychological undercurrents of casual conversation.’

Times Literary Supplement

‘Father, tap dancing weirdly across the kitchen in moments of glee, has immense vitality … A comic masterpiece.’ Financial Times


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780008619176
  • ISBN 10: 0008619174
  • Imprint: HarperCollins
  • On Sale: 07/20/2023
  • Pages: 240
  • List Price:22.99 CAD
  • BISAC1 : FICTION / Family Life
  • BISAC2 : FICTION / Literary
  • BISAC3 : FICTION / Classics
  • BISAC4 : FICTION / Coming of Age
  • BISAC5 : FICTION / Humorous / General

The Tap Dancer by Andrew Barrow

The broadest selection of online bookstores. The links will take you to the web site's home page.

Other Booksellers

The broadest selection of online bookstores. The links will take you to the Web site's home page.


Specialty Booksellers

Interest-specific online venues and gift accounts that offer books for purchase. The links will take you to the store’s home page.

International Customers

If you are located outside Canada, the best way to order online is to choose from the following bookstores listed by region and country.