When Paul Ashford Harris receives a phone call to say his childhood home has burned to the ground, he begins a fascinating journey to reclaim the history of his eccentric family and its relationship to New Zealand from the beginning of colonisation.
We meet his highly respectable Victorian grandfather, Sir Percy Harris, an eminent member of the House of Commons. His grandmother, the highly bohemian Lady Frieda Harris, an artist, suffragette, friend of Emily Pankhurst, and the infamous occultist Aleister Crowley, for whom she painted the famous Thoth Tarot cards.
Then there’s his eternally distant parents, whose idea of parenthood was giving birth as swiftly as possible, immediately appointing a nanny and arranging a couple of satisfactory boarding schools.
Taking you on a remarkable journey from the politics of London’s East End, to the early years of the Australian gold rush and rise and fall of the family business Bing Harris, Odd Boy Out is at its core a poignant memoir that examines the legacy you are given – whether good or bad – and how it shapes you into the person you are today.