Eagle Q&A: New short story collection explores father-son bonds
A Brooklyn resident tackles the big questions about the unique relationships between fathers and sons in a collection of short stories. In “Terms. Sep 30, The three short stories, “Penny in the Dust,” by Ernest Buckler, “A Secret Lost in the Water,” by Roch Carrier and “Lies My Father Told Me,” by. Nov 9, A Brooklyn resident tackles the big questions about the unique relationships between fathers and sons in a collection of short stories. In “Terms.
Marcus Flavius Aquila is on a mission to find out what happened to his father's legion, the 9th Hispana, which marched north into the Caledonian mists and was never seen again. Of course Marcus is really trying to find out what happened to his father, and whether his dad died nobly or not. Essential reading for all boys worried that their absent dad might not always have been a paragon of virtue.
The Mouse and his Child by Russell Hoban A strange one this, but then strangeness is a defining quality of all Hoban's work. The Mouse and his Child is probably his second best-known book after Riddley Walker which also features a boy and his dad, albeit a dead one. The eponymous heroes make up a single clockwork toy, a father mouse and his son, who are exiled from the safety of the toy shop when they are bought, and find themselves on a quest for the beautiful doll's house they once knew.
- "Fellows like yourself": fathers in John McGahern's short stories"
- Fathers and Sons (short story)
- Eagle Q&A: New short story collection explores father-son bonds
It's a magical-realist tale, full of memorable characters and philosophy, but what stayed with me after I'd read it was the tender love of a father for his son. William has no equal for unbridled anarchy, and the way in which he blasts through the adult world's attempts to control him is a joy. Unless you happen to be an adult, of course.
I too had given lectures about behaviour, rolled my eyes and sought for strength in the face of childish mayhem. But what is most appealing about Brown senior is his tacit admission that he was once like William too.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Scrooge is the headline act in our most famous Christmas story, and quite rightly so. Those of us interested in father-son relationships will however linger over the scenes featuring Scrooge's oppressed office slave Bob Cratchit, and Bob's son, Tiny Tim.
Yes, Tiny Tim is deeply irritating, and I'm surprised there hasn't been a Hollywood remake in which Bob goes postal and takes Scrooge out with a few well-placed rounds before the ghosts can do their work. But as Pink Floyd once said, "hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way" and, in my view, Bob's willingness to put up with almost anything in his working life to ensure he can take care of his family makes him a real hero.
Probably in his creator's too, as the young Charles ended up a slave in a blacking factory because he was unlucky enough to be the son of a dodgy, deadbeat dad. So you can imagine just how difficult I found The Road, Cormac McCarthy's vision of a devastated, post-apocalyptic future in which a father is utterly determined to save his nine-year-old son from a fate much worse than anything Tiny Tim might encounter, the options being starvation or ending up as kebabs for some particularly nasty cannibals.
The writing is extraordinary, and although it's clearly a fable, the characters are so clearly drawn they stay with you long after you finish the book. I've got the DVD of the film version, and one of these days I'll get around to watching it.
But not just yet.
'One Of The Boys' Tells The Story Of A Corrosive Father-Son Relationship
After they developed, we chose five of the Polaroids to show Child Protective Services. Out in Albuquerque, the boys and their father move into an anonymous apartment development.
The boys enroll in school; the dad works long-distance as a financial adviser — that is, on those days when he bothers to work. As our narrator later says, "Our dad was an act with a single end. In fact, the boys like it better when dad is on a binge because he's docile.
Other times, he rages, bloodies his sons with his belt buckle and becomes increasingly distrustful. Here's our narrator's description, towards the end of the novel, of the family's sun-baked apartment redecorated in paranoid style: The blinds stayed drawn.
The folding room screens that once separated my father's office from the living room now blockaded the glass porch door.
For a while he'd moved a pizza box from window to window to keep the light out. Why, you may well ask, would any reader want to enter this disturbed space?
Tony Bradman's top 10 father and son stories
You hear the answer in those passages I've already quoted from One of the Boys. But the memoir now reveals in elaborate detail that the often detestable behavior of the fictional fathers, and the attendant emotional and psychological traits, including the most repugnant, were, in fact, those of Frank McGahern. Most of the father figures in his fiction share several of these biographical details. The persistence with which McGahern assigns these public details of his own father to his fictional fathers strongly suggests that the personal — emotional and psychological —traits that he attributes to these characters are drawn from his own father as well.
Collectively, they portray a father who is domineering, mean-spirited, moody, embittered, peevish, suspicious, calculating, secretive, self-pitying, and verbally, physically and sexually abusive. These fictional fathers also demand love and respect from their children or son and wives and are hurt when they do not receive it.
A Short Story : A Father learns A Lesson from His Son
All of these traits, as we will see, are revealed in the memoir as belonging to Frank McGahern. You should do exactly as you want to. After several months of courtship, and with the intention of becoming engaged to her, he asks the son to go with him on holiday to Strandhill to meet Miss McCabe. Playing golf, he had come upon a gruesome scene: The rabbit-stoat relationship seems to be an ironic analogy for that of the father and Miss McCabe, with the father beginning as the hunter stoat but ultimately becoming the hunted rabbit.
I was left behind to deliver the letter to the hotel.
More significant changes are that, in the story, the father does not write a letter to Miss McCabe, and the son, older than McGahern was at the time, decides on his own to stay behind at Strandhill.
He writes that he took the letter up to her hotel room and stayed while she read it. The elder McGahern told his son that he probably would not survive the illness and showed him a metal box that contained money for the funeral expenses, bank accounts, bonds, insurance policies, his will, and instructions for burial and other matters.
He then gave John a key to the metal box. Eventually believing that the illness is terminal, he takes to his bed and calls his son to his side. As in the real incident, the father shows his son a metal box that contains money, a will, deeds, and other important papers, and he instructs him to purchase a small farm from Paddy Mullaney. He then gives the son a key to the box. A conversation ensues between father and son, similar to the one described in the memoir, in which the son begs his father not to die.
Within the week the Sergeant is back in the barracks, apparently having been diagnosed as healthy. But rather than being elated, or even relieved by the news, he seems almost disappointed and resumes his routines in his usual peevish manner, without a word about the diagnosis to his family or the other guards. Unable to bring himself to give the key back to his father, the son attempts to throw it into the river — perhaps the one significant change in the story — but it lands short of the river, falling instead into the sedge and nettles.
Stevie, whose mother is dead, thinks: After his mother died, his father slept with him: When my father came late to bed and enquired as he took off his clothes if I was awake, I nearly always feigned sleep. He never interfered with me in an obviously sexual way, but he frequently massaged my belly and thighs.
As in all other things connected with the family, he asserted that he was doing this for my good: In these years, despite my increasing doctrinal knowledge of what was sinful, I had only the vaguest knowledge of sex or sexual functions, and took him at his word; but as soon as it was safe to do so, I turned away on some pretext or other, such as sudden sleepiness.
Looking back, and remembering his tone of voice and the rhythmic movement of his hand, I suspect he was masturbating. During the beatings [that his father gave to him and the other children] there was sometimes the same sexual undertow, but louder, coarser.
Father Son Conversation • Moral Stories
Army after their son, Luke, was killed in Korea. Nor does the memoir mention an experience resembling the one that opens the story, in which the father recalls for his son an execution he saw while he was an IRA prisoner during the War of Independence. He had thought that he would be the one to be executed, but he was spared.