Peter Leape's years occur mostly in Liverpool before, during and after World War II. He is an imaginative and self-centred youngster, who struggles to free himself from his working-class family's social and religious bigotry. His loving father is something of a moral shambles and his mother would rather be a nun. His elder brother, Frank, monopolises his mother's love and is destined for the Catholic priesthood. When he prefers the RAF, Peter, hoping to please his mother, offers to become a priest in his place. He enters the seminary run by an order of German priests - ironic in wartime - where the boys are ruled by a control freak, Father Prefect. A sexual misadventure with a GI, and a major family tragedy, give Peter the excuse he needs to leave the seminary. After National Service, he works in the Adelphi Hotel and takes sex where he can find it. He abandons religious mythology - breaking the heart of a girl who loves him - only to create a myth of potential greatness about himself. This is finally challenged when reality confronts him with profound, life-changing experience. "Leape Years" combines comedy and tragedy in a mix as thick and rich as a pan of scouse.
Although the first-person narrator is satirised, he is also created with sympathetic understanding.
Leape years is Tony Sullivan's fifth novel. His first, In The Palm House, was a runner-up in the Whitbread First Novel Award. His second, Mad Hannah Rafferty, was nominated for the MIND Book of the Year Award. Born in working-class Liverpool, he now lives in rural Lancashire with his wife and computer.