My Own Worst Enemy

Robert Edric

‘A small masterpiece’ The Spectator

My Own Worst Enemy is a wry and moving memoir of a working-class childhood in 1960s Sheffield, and the relationship between a touchy, tragicomic bully of a father and a son whose acceptance to grammar school puts him on another track entirely.

With a novelist’s eye, Robert Edric vividly depicts a now-vanished era: of working-men’s clubs; of tight-knit communities in factory towns; and of a time when a woman’s place was in the home. And he brings to colourful life his family, both close and extended – though over all of it hovers the vanity and barely-suppressed anger of his own father.

My Own Worst Enemy is a brilliantly specific portrait both of particular time and place – the Sheffield of half a century ago – and a universal story of childhood and family, and the ways they can go right or wrong.

First published:
February 24, 2022


Reviews for My Own Worst Enemy

Held me rapt … Edric’s hyper-precise detailing of his working class Sheffield childhood and appalling father is utterly compelling and deserves many a prize’ – Patrick Gale

Praise for Robert Edric

‘Edric’s novels constitute one of the most astonishing bodies of work to appear from a single author for a generation’ – Daily Telegraph

‘Much contemporary fiction seems inconsequential and fleeting by comparison’ Guardian

‘Edric is a novelist who makes his own rules and can’t be compared with anyone else’ – The Times


Robert Edric

Robert Edric was born in 1956. His novels include Winter Garden (James Tait Black Prize winner, 1986), A New Ice Age (Guardian Prize Runner-up, 1986), The Book Of The Heathen (WH Smith Literary Award, 2000), Peacetime and Gathering the Water (both longlisted for the Booker Prize) and In Zodiac Light, shortlisted for the 2010 International IMPAC award. He lives in Yorkshire.