The Father's Tale: A Novel

The Father's Tale: A Novel

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by Michael O'Brien
     
 

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Canadian bookseller Alex Graham is a middle-age widower whose quiet life is turned upside down when his college-age son disappears from school in England. Leaving his safe and orderly world for the first time in his life, Graham travels to Oxford, Russia and beyond in search of his lost son who might have become involved with a high-brow, New Age group. The father's

Overview

Canadian bookseller Alex Graham is a middle-age widower whose quiet life is turned upside down when his college-age son disappears from school in England. Leaving his safe and orderly world for the first time in his life, Graham travels to Oxford, Russia and beyond in search of his lost son who might have become involved with a high-brow, New Age group. The father's odyssey leads him to fascinating and sometimes frightening people, places and perils - including imprisonment and torture for being mistaken as a spy.Through the uncertainty and the anguish, the loss and the longing, Graham considers his past - youth, marriage, and fatherhood. Apart from childhood illness and the loss of his beloved wife, the bookseller's life had gone rather smoothly within the confines of his small hometown, or so he had once believed.Pulled ever deeper into conflicts between nations, as well as the eternal conflict between good and evil, Graham is stretched nearly to the breaking point by the inexplicable suffering he witnesses and experiences. Struggling to overcome fear and discouragement, he discovers unexpected sources of strength as he presses onward in the hope of recovering his son--and himself.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
O’Brien (A Cry of Stone) takes his readers on an improbable ride, which is his intent. Canadian Alex Graham, a devout Catholic who is still grieving the death of his wife years before, has learned that the younger of his two grown sons, studying at Oxford, has gone missing. From that moment on, Graham travels unrelentingly over several continents in search of his prodigal. It’s a linear narrative of a circuitous journey, portions of which could easily have been shorn without damaging the story. Still, the familial urgency keeps the reader engaged. The travel serves also as a metaphor for Graham’s interior life, which is filled with family themes, memories of risks taken, regrets revisited, and losses overcome. Graham’s urgent search and parental grief in the face of a lost child reflects the story’s metanarrative, that is, love of a kind that takes a father (or Heavenly Father) to the ends of the earth to find his child. It is a long read, perhaps best saved for several winter days. (Nov.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780898708158
Publisher:
Ignatius Press
Publication date:
11/01/2011
Pages:
1076
Sales rank:
1,207,481
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.10(h) x 2.80(d)

What People are saying about this

David Lyle Jeffrey
"In this epic tale of the complex and mysterious workings of love, O'Brien takes his readers on a harrowing intercontinental odyssey, offering them an inside view both of brutal torture and mystical transport in which the dark incongruities of divine providence reorder faith and hope so that love becomes fully possible." --( David Lyle Jeffrey, Ph.D. Distinguished Professor of Literature and the Humanities, Baylor University )
Peter Kreeft
Canadian bookseller Alex Graham is a middle-age widower whose quiet life is turned upside down when his college-age son disappears without any explanation or trace of where he has gone. With minimal resources, the father begins a long journey that takes him for the first time away from his safe and orderly world. As he stumbles across the merest thread of a trail, he follows it in blind desperation, and is led step by step on an odyssey that takes him to fascinating places and sometimes to frightening people and perils.

Through the uncertainty and the anguish, the loss and the longing, Graham is pulled into conflicts between nations, as well as the eternal conflict between good and evil. Stretched nearly to the breaking point by the inexplicable suffering he witnesses and experiences, he discovers unexpected sources of strength as he presses onward in the hope of recovering his son--and himself.

“This is a magnum opus in quality as well as quantity. All of O’Brien’s large and human soul is in this book as in none of his shorter ones: father, Catholic, Russophile, Canadian, personalist, artist, storyteller, romantic. There is not one boring or superfluous page. When you finish The Father's Tale you will say of it what Tolkien said of The Lord of the Rings: it has one fault: it is too short. A thousand pages of Michael O'Brien is like a thousand sunrises: who's complaining?” --( Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., Boston College, Author, You Can Understand the Bible )

Fr. Joseph Fessio
"The best of Michael O’Brien’s novels. He creates characters like Dickens, explores human relationships like Austen, and has the epic scope of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. I believe this novel will merit inclusion in any list of the world’s greatest novels." --(Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ)
Thomas Howard
“To enter the domain into which this book takes its readers is to find oneself in the precincts of Holiness, really. Everything is here: suspense, poignancy, darkness, goodness, radiance, courage and joy. George Macdonald, Charles Williams, Chesterton, Lewis, and, yes, Dostoyevski, have ventured across the borders of this terrain. The scrim that lies between ordinariness and That Which lies beyond ordinariness is pierced. Michael O'Brien's achievement here is, I think, titanic.” --(Thomas Howard, Author, Dove Descending: T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets)
Michael O'Brien
"A modern retelling of the parables The Good Shepherd and The Prodigal Son." --(Michael O'Brien)

Meet the Author


Michael O'Brien, iconographer, painter, and writer, is the popular author of many best-selling novels including Father Elijah, Eclipse of the Sun, Sophia House, and Island of the World. He lives in Canada with his wife and family.

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The Father's Tale 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did not know such a beautiful, intense, personal novel could exist in contemporary North American literature. Though perhaps subject to small faults of style and the occasional heavy-handed passage, its shortcomings are relatively rare and forgivable. Imbued with universal characters both intensely identifiable and filled with unexpected depth. An epic coming-of-age journey for the middle-aged, soaring to Tolstoyan beauty and Dostoevskyan depth. If lacking those authors' polish and near-perfection, it will no doubt be found inestimably more accessible to the modern Western reader. By turns thrilling, shocking, poetic, religious, sublime, and ever humane. Essential reading for Western Russophiles. Though by no means of intetest only to those of the Faith, it is, in my estimation, the best Catholic novel since Walker Percy's The Second Coming (1980). Comparable to Tolkien, but perhaps with broader appeal and accesdibility. A contemporary near-masterpiece of a novel, and that only bevause I hold the term masterpiece in absolute reverence. It is a loss that this is only my first novel by the author. It will be by no means my last.
oldbaha More than 1 year ago
I'm in the process of reading this novel. This is my third experience of the works of Michael D. O'Brien. I have read 'Sophia House' and 'Eclipse of the Sun'. I highly recomend this author. It is refreshing to read someone who writes in a pure and faith filled way. The use of expletives is not his style and I find this very refreshing. If you want to read stories with deep emotions and philosphical rendering. These are the traits of O'Brien. Descriptive writing at it's best. Thank you Michael for all your wisdom and insights!
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