Thursday, November 03, 2022

Top ten books about fathers and sons

Blake Morrison was born in Skipton, Yorkshire, and educated at Nottingham University, McMaster University and University College, London. After working for the Times Literary Supplement, he went on to become literary editor of both The Observer and the Independent on Sunday before becoming a full-time writer in 1995.

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and former Chair of the Poetry Book Society and Vice-Chair of PEN, Morrison has written fiction, poetry, journalism, literary criticism and libretti, as well as adapting plays for the stage. His best-known works are probably his two memoirs, And When Did You Last See Your Father? and Things My Mother Never Told Me.

At the Guardian Morrison tagged ten top books about fathers and sons, including:
Patrimony by Philip Roth

This was a memoir I had read, one of its threads being illness, as mine was too. In describing his father Herman’s brain tumour, diagnosed at the age of 86, Roth’s gift is to offset a story that’s sad and sometimes grim (one section has him cleaning up his father’s shit) with generosity and humour, recalling, for instance, how women made a play for Herman in his widowhood, only to find that he was still married, “if not to my mother any longer, to their marriage”. Though Roth, as a young man, had to grow away from his father in order to write, he’s struck by how their lives are “enmeshed and spookily interchangeable” – a point brought home when he has an emergency quadruple bypass during Herman’s illness.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue