O'Hagan, Andrew Our Fathers

ISBN 13: 9780571201068

Our Fathers

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9780571201068: Our Fathers
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Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Our Fathers is a powerful reclamation of the past from one of Britain's most accomplished literary novelists.

Hugh Bawn, modern Scottish hero and legendary social reformer, lies dying in one of the high-rise tower blocks he helped establish. His grandson Jamie comes home to watch over him, and it is Jamie who tells the story of their family, of three generations of pride and delusion, of nationality and strong drink, of Catholic faith and the end of the old left. It is a tale of dark hearts and modern houses - of three men in search of Utopia.

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Review:

In his acclaimed debut The Missing, Andrew O'Hagan explored our dysfunctional society of inarticulate loners, drawing on his own family. Our Fathers goes the crucial step further, doing the same work but in unabashed novelistic form and it's just as successful, just as shattering in its direct honesty.

Jamie Bawn returns from life in Liverpudlian exile to his home "valleys of mirth" in Ayrshire. He's brought back by his grandfather Hugh, nearing the end of his life high in a 24-storey tower block that once reached for the sky, but now plumbs the depths. Faced with Hugh's decline, Jamie comes to terms with his own father, one of those Scottish fathers "made for grief", whose children ran from them and endemic, proud self-pity: "Our fathers were all poor, poorer than our fathers' fathers."

The elements of soap opera are all alarmingly present and correct--alcoholic father, masochistic mother--but O'Hagan never plays to the gallery: there's a warmth tempering his deliberate unsentimentality, reminiscent of the best cinematic work of Terence Davies. This is a book about lost dreams--not just of the Bawn family, but of the generations that put their trust in socialist solutions, in public housing, in ideas. A succinct, perfectly judged and ultimately moving debut. --Alan Stewart

Review:

"A beautiful, elegiac work . . . required reading for everybody." -- Ian Rankin, "Evening Standard" (U.K.) "O'Hagan offers a deeply moving meditation on losses, both personal and historical, and on the tide of time through generations." --" Kirkus Reviews" "A timely corrective to the idea that nothing profound can be said about now." -- Will Self, "Observer" (U.K.) "The most auspicious debut by a British writer for some time." -- "The Independent" (U.K.)

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

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