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Father of the Rain [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Lily King

Price: CDN$ 37.08 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Sept. 1 2010 Platinum Readers Circle (Center Point)
Daley Amory is eleven years old when her parents split up, leaving her torn between two worlds. While her mother thrives in her new life, her father loses control of his - often seeking solace in the contents of his liquor cabinet. But the more he drinks, the more unpleasant he becomes, and as Daley grows up she watches him transform from the charismatic father of her childhood, into a bitter and manipulative drunk. The older she gets, the more clearly she understands that any aspirations of her own will suffocate if she stays in her Waspish hometown, in thrall to her father's malign influence. College offers an escape route - and Daley grabs it. There, she grows into a remarkable young woman and a passionate academic; and when she meets Jonathan, she slowly begins to trust him with her heart. But when she receives news that the other man in her life - her father - is all alone and losing the will to live, past and present suddenly come crashing in around hr. Yet again Daley faces a terrible dilemma: Should she return to the messy scene of her childhood - or follow her heart and embrace the future she has worked so very hard to build? Provocative and masterfully told, Father of the Rain is a spellbinding journey into the emotional and magnetic pull of families.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 479 pages
  • Publisher: Center Point; Lrg edition (Sept. 1 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602858659
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602858657
  • Product Dimensions: 21.9 x 14.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g

Product Description

From Amazon

There's an emotional heft to Father of the Rain that comes not in the form of high drama, but in the feel of its characters. Daley Amory is an acute and attentive witness to her parents' divorce, which coincides with the larger dissolution of Nixon's presidency--itself a particularly appropriate historical counterpoint for a novel that explores how fiercely parents and children can polarize. Daley's father, Gardiner, is a jovial but capricious blue-blood New Englander, an alcoholic whose behavior is increasingly erratic and punishing to the point that Daley finally breaks away--in spite of how much she loves him--for much of her adult life. She is resilient, a woman you can respect but also challenge, and her love is (ultimately, amazingly) uncomplicated and true. The award-winning author of two previous novels, Lily King has long been admired for her deft, graceful characterization, and in no novel is this more evident than Father of the Rain. She takes on difficult characters but never vilifies them, choosing instead to seek out the feelings they shield, raise them up, and set them free. --Anne Bartholomew --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Review

Spellbinding - Marvellous - You won't be able to stop reading this book, but when you do finally finish the last delicious page and look up, you will see families in a clearer and more forgiving way. - Vanity Fair --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  82 reviews
134 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books of its kind I have ever read... amazing June 24 2010
By Nanohead - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|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.
44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You want the daddy you never got." July 5 2010
By Jill I. Shtulman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Years ago, I sent out a birthday invitation with the theme, "It's never too late to have a happy childhood." Funny - or so I thought.

But for Daley Amory, the main character of Lily King's poignant and at times heartbreaking Father of the Rain, those words are anything but funny. We meet her as an 11-year-old, torn between the liberal and do-good world of her mother and the conservative, erratic, liquor-soaked world of her charismatic and arrogant father. A WASP of the first-degree - rich, Harvard-educated, disconnected - his signature phrase, while lying on his chaise chair, drink in one hand, cigarette in the other,is, "I wonder what the poor people are doing today."

Daley soon learns the rules of engagement with her father: "In my father's culture there is no room for self-righteousness or even earnestness. To take something seriously is to be a fool. It has to be all irony, disdain and mockery. Passion is allowed only for athletics. Achievements off the court or playing field open the achiever up to ridicule. Achievement in any realm other than sports is a tell-tale sign of having taken something seriously."

This could fall into the world of stereotype or cliché - the toxic, alcoholic father and the daughter who tries to please him. But it doesn't. Lily King takes great pains to paint Gardiner Amory - the father - as damaged but not evil. It is inevitable that the grown Daley try to reconnect with him and be the savior, attempting to liberate him from his alcohol dependency...as if that would make everything all right.

Her beau will say to her: "Oh Daley...you want the daddy you never got. You want him to make your whole childhood okay...You've got it nicely cloaked in a gesture of great sacrifice."

The heartbreak, of course, is that none of us can ever "fix" another human being or get our childhood back. As Daley becomes more and more immersed in his world, falling into her charismatic and narcissistic father's gravitational orbit, the stakes get higher and higher. There is not a false note in this authentic book, which takes the reader right into the vortex of a broken family relationship gone asunder. It is a compelling psychological study of how much we give up - including our own survival - to try to save and repair those relationships that are most dear to us. In a non-manipulative way, this book will pull at your heartstrings and stay with you.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "In my father's culture there is no room for self-righteousness or...earnestness. To take something seriously is to be a fool." July 7 2010
By Mary Whipple - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
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
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Editor? Editor? Dec 8 2010
By A. Braun - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed most of this book, despite some overly broad characterizations and improbable events (friend Julie who just finished her Ph.D. is a full professor in Arizona, for example?). But when Julie's father is identified as a "radiologist" early in the book and a "psychiatrist" when he shows up to visit, it makes me wonder whether there was an editor involved here. There is also too much repetition, another editorial problem. Lily King is a talented writer; she deserves better support.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Novel, One of the Best Books of 2010 Aug. 7 2010
By William Capodanno - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Wow, I was expecting a good read, but is no way ready to be blown away by "Father of the Rain." Lily King has delivered one of the Best Books of 2010 and slightly edges out "Matterhorn" as my favorite read of the year.

This book gripped me like a vise from the first pages and never let me go. The story centers on Daley Amory, daughter of an alcoholic father, whose addiction finally breaks apart their family when she is in 6th grade. I really cannot find any fault with this book. It is not an easy or uplifting book as it takes an unflinching look at issues of family, divorce, addiction and bigotry. King never allows the novel to become sentimental or righteous and she excels at the broad themes mentioned above, but also the details. The dialogue is so flawless and the sense of time and place, covering 30 years, primarily in New England, is perfect.

"Father of the Rain" is about first and foremost about relationships. The center of gravity for this book is the relationship between Daley and her alcoholic father, Gardiner. This relationship, like most family relationships, has so much collateral impact which King's weaves together to create such a multi-dimensional and haunting novel that spans the emotional spectrum of love, loss, guilt and forgiveness. As a child of inamicable divorce (although not driven by addiction), King had me flashing back to my childhood, recalling many similar circumstances and feelings, opening old wounds in a raw and visceral way. It is possible this book connected with me so deeply because of the subject matter and my life experiences. It is more likely that this is just a brilliant book by a brilliant writer.

If you are going to read just a couple of books this year, make sure "Father of the Rain" is one of them. I certainly hope this book receives the recognition it deserves and cements King's reputation as a writer of great skill.

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