Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Must Read of the Week: Fathers
Gerard is a scholarly sort, that much is evidenced here. The reader can witness his passion when looking at the essays he's assembled - Franz Kafka, Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, and other literary greats. As a huge fan of Kafka, a literary sort myself, and a ravenous reader, I foudn this collection more insightful in that I'd never read any of these essays before. Typically, in these collections, the essays are things you've seen elsewhere, read before, or have that all-too-familiar feel to it. Gerard doesn't pull that cheap trick on the reader.
The Kafka piece alone, since we're on the subject, is worth the price of admission. It's perceived as an angst-filled letter to dad, one that surmises a not at all pleasant upbringing. In quintessential Kafka style, the thing ends with: "My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened". This "letter" to dad, later was identified as a work of fiction. It's superb.
Other highlights include a graphic novelization ode to Father from Alison Bechdel entitled "Old Father, Old Artificer". You've got the obligatory Sylvia Plath poetry ("Daddy"). And an inclusion by Leonard Cohen (which may be the coolest thing ever).
Running over 400 pages, this hefty paperback is perfect to revisit time and time again. If you didn't snag something spiffy for Father's Day, or you did and it as a gift card, give this book a try. Meanwhile, I'll pester Mr. Gerard to see if he's got "Mothers" in the work.