On the Bright Side
Hendrik Groen

Book cover image

Narrated By: Patrick Ryecart

Duration: 15 hours and 24 minutes

What to expect

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of On the Bright Side by Hendrik Groen, read by Patrick Ryecart.

Everyone's favourite octogenarian is back and - together with the Old-But-Not-Dead Club - is more determined than ever to wreak havoc.

After a year mourning the death of his beloved friend Eefje, Hendrik picks up his pen once again to chronicle the goings on both inside his care home and in the increasingly confusing world outside. He may be older and a little more wobbly but his appetite for mischief hasn't diminished. When fears arise that the home is set for demolition it's up to Hendrik and the Old-But-Not-Dead Club to intervene.

Both heart-breaking and hilarious, we see Hendrik make new friends whilst losing old ones and embarking on new adventures while confronting the realities of old age. Written with his characteristic charm and candour Hendrik is determined to enjoy his autumnal years and turn a twinkly eye on the brighter side of life.

Genre

Biographical fiction, Fiction in translation, Modern & contemporary fiction, Generational sagas, Narrative theme: Social issues, Satirical fiction & parodies, Humour

Listen to a sample

'A story with a great deal of heart, it pulled me in with its self-deprecating humour, finely drawn characters and important themes. Anyone who hopes to grow old with dignity will have much to reflect on'

Graeme Simsion

Very funny

Financial Times

Full of off-beat charm and quirky characters

Stylist

Hendrik pens an exposé of his care home, sets up the Old-But-Not-Dead club and relishes the arrival of a new female resident. This geriatric Adrian Mole made me laugh and think. Terrific

Woman and Home

I laughed until I cried and then laughed and cried some more

David Suchet

A funny but also touching diary praised for its wit and realism

BBC Radio 4 Front Row

I laughed until I cried and then laughed and cried some more

David Suchet

Praise for The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83¼ Years Old

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Very funny

Financial Times

Thoughtful, anxious and gruff... Laced with humour

Mail on Sunday

A joy to read, as much concerned with friendship and dignity as it is with the debilitating effects of aging ... An entertaining and uplifting story of a man in the winter of his days, stoic in the face of bureaucratic nonsense and an unabashed need to wear a nappy. Imagined or not, this is the diary of someone who wants nothing more than to be allowed see out his days with dignity and respect. It's not too much to ask, really, is it?

Irish Times

Amusing [and] wickedly accurate ... I was constantly put in mind of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, another comi-tragedy concerning the tyranny of institutions of the unwanted. Enjoy Groen's light touch but do not be fooled by it. We live in an ageing society. The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen is a handbook of resistance for our time

Sunday Express

So much more than just a comedy. It's a story about how friendship, selflessness and dignity lie at the heart of the human experience. When I'm an old man, I want to be Hendrik Groen.

John Boyne

There are many laughs in this book but it's so much more than just a comedy. It's a story about how friendship, selflessness and dignity lie at the heart of the human experience. When I'm an old man, I want to be Hendrik Groen

John Boyne

Terrific. This geriatric Adrian Mole made me laugh

Woman and Home

A story with a great deal of heart, it pulled me in with its self-deprecating humour, finely drawn characters and important themes. Anyone who hopes to grow old with dignity will have much to reflect on

Graeme Simsion

Highly entertaining ... a delightful and touching saga of one man's way of coping with old age ... we may assume that Hendrik Groen is a character of fiction. But it is a fiction so closely based on the observation of real life that it is utterly convincing