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Father Melancholys Daughter (Co) [Mass Market Paperback]

G. Godwin
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 1 1992
Years after her mother abandoned six-year-old Margaret Gower and her deeply religious father, the now-grown Margaret questions the past and looks forward to her future. By the author of A Mother and Two Daughters. Reprint. NYT.

Product Details

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Godwin brings empathy, understanding and a 19th-century sensibility to this novel of a young woman deeply attached to her father, a moody Episcopalian minister whose wife has abandoned him. This BOMC main selection received a PW boxed review.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Ambitious, wise...unforgettable...an engrossingly good read...a novel that explores timeless concerns of faith, love, and morality." -- -- Atlanta Journal and Constitution

"Brilliant...an elegant, intelligent, and necessary novel--the best book yet from Gail Godwin." -- -- Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Haunting...superb...the novel dazzles." -- -- Philadelphia Inquirer

"Remarkable...I don't know more than a few contemporary novels as full of grace as Gail Godwin's Father Melancholy's Daughter." -- -- USA Today --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
Although I did not know it then, my life of unpremeditated childhood ended on Wednesday, September 13, 1972. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Godwin at Her Best Jan. 12 2003
Having read all of Gail Godwin's novels, I would rank this and Evensong as her best effort in capturing the essence of a half dozen characters - characters we come to care about and identify with, flawed though they may be. The novel is a celebration of brokenness and of nurture within the community of Christian believers in Godwin's ficticious town. Unlike one's experience with formula fiction (and Christian formula fiction in particular) the reader is surprised by who ends up wearing the white hats at book's end. Godwin's message (thesis) is inclusive and moving in its reality: we are all fellow strugglers in a world most often ruled by random events.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great story with some thought-provoking ideas Aug. 9 2002
I read this book with a highlighter in one hand. There are so many thought-provoking places in this beautiful and well-written story. I am looking forward to reading the sequel, "Evensong."
Here are two great quotes:
"Not until we accept our shortcomings can we do God's will in the world. Each person has a specific shortcoming to accept and endure and try to work on. It's that person's task, it is my task. And however painful or shameful or just plain aggravating it is to me, or to you, that very shortcoming is a part of my destiny; it may even be inseparable from why I will have been valuable to the human community. Because, by bearing it, learning it from the roots up, letting it speak its message to me, offering it in my mind and my body in which to work itself out, I may be doing my part to heal what is split in the world."
"And now it is our turn to follow Him by seeking to know our own redemptive roles, seeking to find out what is my part, what is your part, your unique part, in the human drama we find ourselves enmeshed in. Don't let yourself be unduly put down by the jeers, but don't be taken in unduly by the laurels and waving of palm branches, either. Just ride your little donkey as best you can, focus daily on those places in your existence where intensity blazes up...and let God do the rest."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Father Melancholy's Daughter July 27 2002
By Lena
Together with its sequeal, Evensong, this was one of my favorite reads. It had a depth and realism rarely found in fiction with a religious theme. The interplay between spiritual and psychological was fascinating to me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book that will break your heart Aug. 28 2001
This book made me feel like Gail Godwin had somehow been watching me--and many of the people I know and love best--all my life. I too am a "PK"--and like Margaret, born in the 1960's to an Episcopal priest and his wife. She has captured so perfectly the mis en scene of rectory life that it's spooky. It helped me to remember that though to many people he's "Father," to me he is "Daddy"--less conflicted and melancholy than Walter, certainly--but his struggles with the "grace of daily obligation" are the same. And I bawled like a baby through the whole second half. It's a book that will remind any daughter how much she loves and owes to the first man in her life.
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2.0 out of 5 stars An unorganized and boring book M.S. period 1 April 25 2001
By A Customer
This book took a while to get into and it was not in an organized manner. It did not evoke suspense because it gave away the entire story at the beginning of the book. When it told in the first chapter how Margaret's mother died after she went on vacation with a friend, the rest of the story just retold everything that happened before that event. I would get confused because at any time -since I couldn't tell when was the present- could be a flashback and change the subject completely.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful and thought-provoking narrative Dec 21 2000
A wonderful narrative story, told from the point of view of Margaret, who is the precocious and intellectual daughter of an Episcopalian minister. The story is intertwined with issues of a deeper spiritual nature, but there's nothing "preachy" about it -- just the true soul-searching of a young woman sifting through the stories of her past and the beliefs she was raised with to find her own place in the world.
This story hinges on the scene where young Margaret childishly tries to "punish" her mother for having to share her mother's affections with her mother's eccentric artist friend who blows into town and changes all their lives. Tragically, it is the last time Margaret sees her mother. It may sound melancholy at first, but there is much more to this story than the tragedy of a girl who loses her mother in childhood.
As all good stories often do, it ends with some surprises, and leaves just the right amount of burning questions unanswered. Look for the sequel, and find Margaret grown up and still struggling with the echoes of her past in "Evensong."
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4.0 out of 5 stars Deep & Sophisticated Book Aug. 20 2000
By A Customer
"Father Melancholy's Daughter" is not for everyone, but it is rewarding and it is thought provoking. It is also well-written and a believeable book. A little of the storyline: a young woman, Ruth, marries an older Episcopalian minister, who has significant bouts of depression. The two have a precocious daughter, Margaret. After a visit from a college friend (Madelyn Farley), Ruth leaves her family for a "vacation", but never returns. How do you cope without a wife/mother (at age 6!)? Why did Ruth (wife/mother) leave, and what does life mean now without her. The religious background is accurate and engrossing. The father is a wonderful minister. We should all be so lucky to have a caring and compassionate religious figure in our lives. However, Margaret has to be an old soul to be so mature and to handle her life (and the church groupies) with such grace. Still, I found Margaret's character refreshing for her dignity, humor, and insight into her religious world. The questions are will Margaret find true love? Will she repeat history like her mother? You will need to read the book to find out.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, insightful sweep of the human/Christian journey!
I loved this book. I read it as a library book, but now will buy it! As I said in the title, she manages to cover it all, all the questions/quests of life, and does so in an... Read more
Published on April 10 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars This Is a Wonderful Book
I enjoyed this book very much. It reads more like poetry than narrative, and the emotions as well as the world around the main character's life are beautifully penned. Read more
Published on Dec 3 1999 by "mnyblom"
1.0 out of 5 stars This book was agonizing to read
Who is giving this book 4 1/2 stars? This book was PAINFUL! First of all, it is WAY too long for the amount (or lack) of a storyline it contains. Read more
Published on Oct. 20 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book that only gets better with age.
I first read FMD ten years ago when I was a young mother. I found it hard to read then, with the abandonment of a child so intimately described, but was glad I pressed through to... Read more
Published on Oct. 19 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-paced story, beautiful characters...
This story may sound melancholy at first, but there is much more to this story than the tragedy of a girl who loses her mother in childhood. Read more
Published on Oct. 5 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars bibliotherapy for preachers' kids.
Grimmer than Anne Tyler, but then this is for the inner survivor of the surreal environment of the clergy family, rather than Tyler's tendency to romanticize the family however... Read more
Published on Aug. 18 1999
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