Fathermucker: A Novel

( 2 )

Overview

A day in the life of a dad on the brink: Josh Lansky—second-rate screenwriter, fledgling freelancer, and stay-at-home dad of two preschoolers—has held everything together while his wife is away on business . . . until this morning’s playdate, when he finds out through the mommy grapevine that she might be having an affair. What Josh needs is a break. He’s not going to get one.

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Fathermucker

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Overview

A day in the life of a dad on the brink: Josh Lansky—second-rate screenwriter, fledgling freelancer, and stay-at-home dad of two preschoolers—has held everything together while his wife is away on business . . . until this morning’s playdate, when he finds out through the mommy grapevine that she might be having an affair. What Josh needs is a break. He’s not going to get one.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Slipstreaming behind Tom Perotta's Little Children, Olear's familiar take on suburbia is energetically narrated by freelance writer Josh Lansky, a New Paltz, N.Y., Mr. Mom. With his wife, Stacy, a former actress, away on business, Josh must care for their preschoolers, Maude and Roland. But when a female friend suggests that Stacy is having an affair, Josh's orderly world spins off its axis. A single Friday, morning to midnight (with a touch of Saturday thrown in) unfolds in a stream of activities and recollections, sometimes in screenplay form: Roland's Asperger diagnosis; Stacy having sex with another woman before they were married; Josh trying to arrange an interview with an alt-rock sensation; Josh battling recurring imagined scenes of his wife's possible infidelity. Rather than confronting her, Josh confronts the loose-lipped friend, precipitating his own slip and a series of melodramatic questions. Will Josh do the right thing? Will he confront Stacy about the accusation? Will Maude and Roland go to bed without a fuss? Olear's follow-up to Totally Killer is packed with contemporary references (Facebook; Bob the Builder), suburban discontents, and marital dissonances, but also rife with cliché and finished with a pat resolution. (Oct.)
Washington Post
“Fierce and funny”
Booklist
“This brilliantly insightful novel explores the trials of modern fatherhood through one hectic day... Littered with hilariously genuine anecdotes, parental pathos, and a hearty dose of pop culture, this clever, comic, and compassionate novel will appeal to fans of Jim Lindberg and Jonathan Evison.”
Penthouse
“A lively and keenly observed portrait of twenty-first century parenthood.”
Jess Walter
“All kinds of funny-raucously, wickedly, sweetly, saucily, surprisingly, profanely funny…a wonderful novel, capturing in a single manic day the helpless ache of parenthood and the ceaseless flood of popular culture.”
Booklist
"This brilliantly insightful novel explores the trials of modern fatherhood through one hectic day... Littered with hilariously genuine anecdotes, parental pathos, and a hearty dose of pop culture, this clever, comic, and compassionate novel will appeal to fans of Jim Lindberg and Jonathan Evison."
Penthouse
"A lively and keenly observed portrait of twenty-first century parenthood."
Washington Post
"Fierce and funny"
Jess Walter
"All kinds of funny-raucously, wickedly, sweetly, saucily, surprisingly, profanely funny…a wonderful novel, capturing in a single manic day the helpless ache of parenthood and the ceaseless flood of popular culture."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062059710
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/4/2011
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 992,075
  • Product dimensions: 5.32 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Greg Olearis the senior editor of the lit blog The Nervous Breakdown and the author of the novel Totally Killer. His work has appeared in therumpus.net, Babble.com,themillions.com, Chronogram, and Hudson Valley Magazine. A professor of creative writing at Manhattanville College, he lives with his family in New Paltz, New York.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Fathermucker

    This is the story of Josh Lansky, screenwriter and freelance writer and stay at home dad. This is but one day in the mostly frustrating and very busy in his life. He has two children he has to take car e of when his wife is out of town on business. He deals with a son with Asperger's, a girl who is a toddler, mommy groups, come-ons and innuendos and also trying to meet and aging rocker who is a stay at home dad also (possible writing gig).

    I found this book to be funny and sometimes exasperating as Josh tries to be a father to his children and trying to keep his marriage intact. A fascinating take on fatherhood in today's world.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 29, 2011

    Buy four copies, read three, give away two, keep one.

    Funny and a little heartbreaking, sexy and more than a little subversive, insightful and allusive-not adjectives you'd necessarily think would describe a novel about 24 hours in the life of a harried stay-at-home dad. At least not based on my own occasional stay at home experience(s). But in Fathermucker, Greg Olear manages to squeeze all that and more into a single day, making even the most banal aspects of child-rearing (and, let's be honest, there's a lot of them) pretty damn entertaining. This is a book about parenting, about marriage, about gender dynamics, about pop culture-about what it means to be a good father, and a good husband.

    Do we need any more of these types of books? I wouldn't have thought so, but the answer appears to be an emphatic yes.

    The obvious antecedent is Little Children-as pointed out in the PW review, although they spell Tom Perrotta's name wrong-but aside from the surface element of having stay-at-home dads as central characters, the two books have little in common. Perrotta's main concern seemed to be telling an amusing but unabashedly ready-for-Meg Ryan story, while Olear is on the whole more ambitious, his subversion not just a product of afternoon adultery, but what treads deep (and frighteningly) in the water of the parental soul. By the end of the book, there's not much about Josh Lansky we don't know; his flaws are readily apparent. Olear channels Joyce more than he does Perrotta-although Fathermucker is way more fun-and much shorter-than Ulysses. At least I think it is, since I gave up on Ulysses halfway through and read Beyond The Valley of the Dolls instead.

    At any rate, although there are elements of his debut novel, Totally Killer, that survive in this sophomore effort-the engaging first-person narrator, the rude obsession with pop culture, and the MacGuffin of a mystery-this is a different kind of work. It's a "Way We Live Now" sort of story that sharply elbows out a space in the queue to become the definitive stay-at-home dad novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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