138 of 145 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Vine Customer Review of Free Product
This book was just spellbinding. I had no idea what to expect, and took a total flyer on it, and I was astonished. I'm a middle age family guy, and I usually trend toward action/mystery/thrillers, with an occasional drift into historical fiction and general literature. I figured I'd try something a little different, and Father of the Rain looked interesting. It would just not be on my radar in most cases.
Its a story, told over some 40 odd years, of a small town family, mostly centered around one woman and her father. It is told through the eyes, and mind of Daley, who was born into a typical uptight, New England family in the 60's, where alcoholism, racism, sexism, and just about any other "ism" you could think of was rampant. We follow Daley from a small child, and her impressions of her life, through teen years, college and post college, into her late 20s, and then into her 40s. The early part of the book sets the stage for the family's issues and Daley's early influences. The bulk of the latter part of the book is centered around the very complex relationship Daley has with her father.
We learn of her father, her mother, their dysfunctional relationship, her father's later wives, the small town gossip, Daley's artificial beliefs, her real beliefs, all told through her growing ideological point of view, and finally, through her maturing point of view.
I cannot describe the absolute natural cadence, language and moods that Lily King has created, as the words on the page almost became real life narrative, like a movie playing in my head where I was watching real life unfold. The stitching together of time, of descriptions, of details small and large, is just mesmerizing. I simply could not put down this book.
Simply put, I was blown away, and could not stop reading. It took me 5 days, much of it on a business trip. I didn't hear the airplanes, hotel rooms, or anything else when I was reading. I was totally sucked in. I grew up during the same time period, and have some roots into the New England setting, so some of it resonated with family history. Her writing is on the scale of Richard Russo, and the richness that Ms. King deliver is simply uncanny and wonderful. Buy this book. Read this book.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
John Updike made the lives of Boston's suburban elite his territory--emphasizing their sense of entitlement and superiority, their "clubbiness," their alcoholism, and their sexual experimentation. One generation later, Lily King shares her similar insights within a similar, more "Brahmin" Massachusetts setting. Dividing her novel into three parts, she tells the story of Daley Amory, daughter of Gardiner and Meredith Amory, from her eleventh birthday, during the Presidency of Richard Nixon, through her forties and the election of Barack Obama. Though she lives for long periods of time during those years without contact with her alcoholic father, she never really escapes her need for him, even, on occasion, subsuming her own "best interests" to care for him.
With a fine eye for imagery, an unerring ear for dialogue, and a firm grasp of the depths of emotion that underlie the interplay between Daley and Gardiner, she creates a novel that establishes her themes about daughters and their fathers, a surprisingly rare subject for fiction. The novel opens on Daley's eleventh birthday, just before her mother leaves her father and persuades Daley to come with her to her parents' house in New Hampshire for the summer. Three months later, after a summer in New Hampshire, Daley returns to her former home to visit her father-and finds him living with someone else, the woman's daughter sleeping in Daley's bedroom.
Part II takes place during a going-away party for Daley in Michigan sixteen years later. Having completed her advanced degree, she is about to begin work in California. Then she gets a call saying that her father needs her. In Part III, Daley is the mother of two children. She has had no contact with her father for fifteen years. And then she gets another phone call asking her to return to see him.
Gardiner Amory is nearly impossible to like, primarily because he is so ignorant and self-satisfied. He has no interests beyond the elite little world of his town and his club. Snide and snobbish, he is a manipulator, willing to do anything to get his own way. His profanity, his alcoholic tantrums, his insulting behavior toward his succession of wives, and his flagrant sexual performances are more than many readers will want to know about. It is this last issue which, unfortunately, casts a clinker into the mix of scenes--several sexual episodes so (unnecessarily) explicit that they will, for some readers, negatively affect the thoughtfully observed mood and style of the novel overall.
Daley is sympathetic and largely believable. Though her decision to nurse her weak father emphasizes her overwhelming need for him, the length of her stay is more difficult to understand. The fact that her devotion is taken for granted, rather than appreciated, makes her stay especially hard to credit. A fascinating look at the extent to which girls and women yearn for a father and the lengths to which they will go to make that father love them, Father of the Rain is a thoughtful novel which shows the evolution of a woman who must help her father, with his limited view of life, even as her own world view is expanding. Mary Whipple