In her most ambitious novel to date, critically acclaimed author Lily King sets her sharply insightful family drama in an upper-middle-class East Coast suburb where she traces a complex and volatile father-daughter relationship from the 1970s to the present day.
When eleven-year-old Daley Amorys mother leaves her father, Daley is thrust into a chaotic adult world of competition, indulgence, and manipulation. Unable to place her allegiance, she gently toes the thickening line between her parents incompatible worlds: the increasingly liberal, socially committed realm of her mother, and the conservative, liquor-soaked life of her father. But without her mother there to keep him in line, Daleys fathers basest impulses and quick rage are unleashed, and Daley finds herself having to choose her own survival over the father she still deeply loves.
As she grows into adulthood, Daley retreats from the New England country- club culture that nourished her fathers fears and addictions, and attempts to live outside of his influence. Until he hits rock bottom. Faced with the chance to free her father from sixty years worth of dependency, Daley must decide whether repairing their badly broken relationship is worth the risk of losing not only her professional dreams, but the love of her life, Jonathan, who represents so much of what Daleys father claims to hate, and who has given her so much of what he could never provide.
A provocative and masterfully told story of one womans life-long, primal loyalty to her father, Father of the Rain is a spellbinding journey into the emotional complexities, mercurial contours, and magnetic pull of families.
My father is singing.
High above Cayugas waters, theres an awful smell.
Some say its Cayugas waters, some say its Cornell.
He always sings in the car. He has a low voice scraped out by
cigarettes and all the yelling he does. His big pointy Adams apple
bobs up and down, turning the tanned skin white wherever it moves.
He reaches over to the puppy in my lap. Yous a good little rascal. Yes you is, he says in his dog voice, a happy, hopeful voice he doesnt use much on people.
The puppy was a surprise for my eleventh birthday, which was yesterday. I chose the ugliest one in the shop. My father and the owner tried to tempt me with the full-breed Newfoundlands, scooping up the silky black sacks of fur and pressing their big heavy heads against my cheek. But I held fast. A dog like that would make leaving even harder. I pushed them away and pointed to the twenty-five dollar wirehaired mutt that had been in the ...
Father of the Rain offers a portrait of an alcoholic parent from the viewpoint of his daughter, Daley. The story begins when Daley is 11, right before her parents' divorce, and follows her until her father's death 25 years later. Both a warning and a tribute to the importance of the relationship between a father and daughter, this novel is a heart-wrenching depiction of the painful influence of this particular parent on a vulnerable child under his care.
(Reviewed by Beverly Melven).
Full Review (830 words).
When you began your new novel, Father of the Rain, what was the initial idea or image that got the story rolling?
I think it started with the puppy, a father buying his daughter a puppy that she wouldn't be able to keep because she knew, though he didn't, that she would be moving out of the house with her mother in a week. And her choice of the ugliest puppy, so that it wouldn't be even harder to leave. Once I got the puppy in the car, the rest of the first chapter came quickly: the mother with the group of city kids in the pool, the father scheming to sabotage the moment in some way, and the daughter trying to please them both at the same time, all the while carrying around this tremendous secret that her mother was about to ...
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