For the Guardian, he named his top ten father and son stories. One father-son entry on the list:
Odysseus and Telemachus in The OdysseyRead about another entry on the list.
Where else to start but with the Daddy of all missing father stories? Homer's Iliad is full of manly stuff, but as a boy I was drawn to The Odyssey and its tale of a son waiting for a father who went out one day with his mates and didn't come back for 20 years. Most people focus on the romantic idea of faithful Penelope waiting for Odysseus to return. Telemachus is far more interesting, though. He's the one who holds it together at home for his mum, seeks out his father, then bonds with dad by helping him to slaughter the suitors. If I were Telemachus I'd be asking why mum hadn't seen them off in the first place, and how come dad had dallied so long with all those comely, bewitching girls on the way home? Telemachus, of course, is far too well-behaved to do any such thing.
The Odyssey also made John Mullan's lists ten of the best shipwrecks in literature, ten of the best monsters in literature, ten of the best examples of rowing in literature, and ten of the best caves in literature, as well as Madeline Miller's top ten list of classical books, Justin Somper's top ten list of pirate books, and Carsten Jensen's list of the top ten seafaring tales.