Be prepared for a surprise. It's a fair bet you've never read anything quite like Epilogue before. Eccentric, irreverent, sometimes poignant, it comes in tempting, unpredictable bites, a comedy derived from the unavoidable tragedy of old age. Fiction? Well, sort of. And while its theme belongs to a particular generation, others will be intrigued by Epilogue's glimpses of the real recent past.
Epilogue is, at heart, a tongue-in-cheek conjectured chronicle of the last years in fictional Frank's aspirational but comprehensively failed life. It wasn't his fault, of course. He never forgave that chap with the girl's name who beat him to the top of Everest, and although there were other projects for the Grand Adventurer that could get him noticed, for one good reason or another it was not to be. There are, too, faint glimpses of opportunities lost on the concert platform. Along the way, amidst the litter of forgetfulness and confusion that gathers around the old, Frank tilts at the windmills of folklore, tradition and institution; some of the supposedly solid-mounted monuments of our inherited culture are mischievously kicked over. Woven into the main narrative there's a strand of biographical sketches through which the allusions in the narrative become clear, as well as providing something of a social snapshot of the times. A third strand in Epilogue has authority coming looking for guidance from someone who has lived long enough to have seen everything at least twice before and so might just have some answers - what they get is often unorthodox, though not without validity.
The real Frank is almost as old as his fictional namesake, and fast becoming familiar with some of the same symptoms. At home with satire, Thurberesque nonsense or just plain fun, he has a long casual history of putting himself about on pen and paper, from the poetic to the pictorial, for the limited audience. For once, with Epilogue, he's chosen to go public.