Friday, June 14, 2024

Twelve of the worst fathers in literature

Garth Risk Hallberg’s first novel, City on Fire, was a New York Times and international best seller and was selected as one of the best books of 2015 by The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and Vogue. It was the basis for the Apple TV+ series of the same name. He is also the author of the novella A Field Guide to the North American Family. In 2017, Granta named him one of the Best of Young American Novelists. His work has been translated into seventeen languages.

Hallberg's new novel is The Second Coming.

At Lit Hub he tagged many of the worst fathers in literature, including:
Anse Bundren, As I Lay Dying (1930)

The tellingly named Anse spends most of this novel making an utter arse of himself, no matter whose point-of-view you’re occupying. While his wife’s corpse molders in a nine-day cortege from hell, and his children wrestle with (in no particular order) madness, gangrene, and pregnancy, Anse mostly bitches about how ill-used he is by everyone… and schemes toward a conclusion too amazing to give away.
Read about another entry on the list.

As I Lay Dying is on Paul Murray's list of six top books featuring families, a list of four books that shaped Carmel Reilly's love of literature, a list of four books that changed Elizabeth J. Church, Jesmyn Ward's list of six favorite books featuring absent parents, Emily Ruskovich's top ten list of rural American novels, Jeff Somers's top five list of books written in very unlikely places, Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick's list of eight of the most badass ladies in all of banned literature, Nicole Hill's lists of nine of the biggest martyrs in fiction and five books that, like country and western songs, tell "stories of agony and ecstasy, soaring highs and mighty powerful lows, heartache and hard living," Laura Frost's list of the ten best modernist books (in English), Helen Humphreys's top ten list of books on grieving, John Mullan's list of ten of the best teeth in literature, Jon McGregor's list of the top ten dead bodies in literature, Roy Blount Jr.'s list of five favorite books of Southern humor, and James Franco's six best books list.

The “My mother is a fish.” chapter in As I Lay Dying is among the ten most notorious parts of famous books according to Gabe Habash.

--Marshal Zeringue