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Fathers

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Whether he was good, bad, drunk, heroic, or just plain absent, chances are your father has left his stamp upon you. In this warmhearted, sometimes droll, often poignant collection, a host of men and women reminisce about their fathers - from wrathful patriarchs to incorrigible eccentrics to doting dads. Aissa Wayne offers a heartfelt account of John Wayne's final, heroic appearance at the Oscars. Arthur Ashe remembers his father's personal triumph over the injustices of racism. Sean Lennon wistfully recalls the ...
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Overview

Whether he was good, bad, drunk, heroic, or just plain absent, chances are your father has left his stamp upon you. In this warmhearted, sometimes droll, often poignant collection, a host of men and women reminisce about their fathers - from wrathful patriarchs to incorrigible eccentrics to doting dads. Aissa Wayne offers a heartfelt account of John Wayne's final, heroic appearance at the Oscars. Arthur Ashe remembers his father's personal triumph over the injustices of racism. Sean Lennon wistfully recalls the brief five years of his life before John Lennon's murder when "my dad and I were buddies, and there was no real sorrow." Candice Bergen tells about sitting on her father's knee next to Charlie McCarthy while the famous ventriloquist merrily squeezed their necks and spoke for both of them. And in the magnificent comic essay that opens the volume, Wilfrid Sheed fondly describes his unconventional father as "a total irredeemable indoorsman." Here too are cameos of fictional fathers, with moving excerpts from Mona Simpson's The Lost Father and Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, to name only two. As the chapter "Daddy Dearest" reveals, life with father cannot always be likened to one long idyllic game of catch in the park. Pat Conroy dreaded his father's temper. Antoinette Giancana was sternly admonished by her Mafioso father that she should "never, never open the door to a stranger." And Laurence Olivier once wryly remarked that the only trouble between him and his father "was that he couldn't see the slightest purpose in my existence." But more often these remembrances are affectionate and nostalgic. Perhaps it is true, as Nietschze tells us, that if you have not had a good father, it is necessary to invent one. This marvelously varied book celebrates fathers of all stripes, and offers moving testimony to the ways in which a father's legacy endures.

In this warm-hearted, sometimes droll, often poignant collection, a host of men and women reminisce about their fathers. Includes child's-eye views of heroic fathers, (John Wayne), incorrigibly eccentric fathers (Groucho Marx), even mafioso fathers (Sam Giancana), plus excerpts from books by Mona Simpson, Kazuo Ishiguro, and others. Illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Despite its well-defined topic, this collection of writings about fathers (some fictional, most factual) is diminished by its scattered treatment. The thoughtful, crafted excellence of certain entries is diminished by the preponderance of flip or elliptical, snippet-length observations, many of them only a sentence or two. Reminiscences about John Wayne at his last Oscar ceremony or about Kurt Vonnegut Sr.'s, architectural career, blighted by the Great Depression, are among the most affecting. Such well-known figures as Woody Guthrie and Nat Cole represent the father as hero, while comments by Lauren Bacall, Alexander Woollcott, Norman Lear and Ken Stabler depict the father as villain. A few of the observations are as poignant as Barbra Streisand's ``I would have liked to have a father,'' but in general, this is a distractingly uneven anthology from the author of The Portable Curmudgeon . (May)
Library Journal
This compilation may sound like a Valentine to dear old Dad, but it is much more literate and reality based than most collections of this kind. True, there is an abundance of warm stories about fathers, but the collection also contains stories of revenge against harsh fathers, beloved fathers acting gruffly, and notorious fathers acting notoriously. For instance, a son who is always furious at his harsh father finally gets even by taking literally his father's command to kill a pesky kitten. To balance such hard reminiscences, there are many loving portraits, such as a piece by Candice Bergen on Edgar Bergen's Swedish breakfast room, a place of exquisite quality time between father and daughter. A good introduction by editor Winokur and expertly delivered narration by four pleasing voices make this audiobook a winner.-Mark Pumphrey, Polk Cty. P.L., Columbus, N.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452272071
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/1994
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
"Fathers" 4
Lessons 13
"Grass" 29
Heroes 50
From John Wayne, My Father 65
"Seasoned Wood" 69
Characters 71
From Life With Groucho 80
From Surprised by Joy 82
Lost Fathers 84
From The Lost Father 92
From The Way I See It 95
From Rain or Shine 98
From Every Good-bye Ain't Gone 103
Daddy Dearest 111
From Unto the Sons 123
From Huckleberry Finn 127
From Black Boy 133
Work 137
From The Remains of the Day 147
Fatherly Advice 156
"Faerieland" 164
Legacies 173
From Fates Worse Than Death 186
My Father's Life 191
Quality Time 200
From Will 209
Golden Moments 213
Index 221
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