The Good Father delivers a punch that left me breathless (and speechless).
I am not sure that the title or the synopsis would have pulled me in if I were not already a Marion Husband fan. She always creates vibrant characters and solid plot lines. The Good Father is the latest example of her writing skill.
The book has stayed with me over the last few days. And I have struggled with how to explain it -- both the emotional affect and the actual book.
The story is VERY British -- placid exterior facades and seething interior lives, quiet suffering and explosive emotions. All very restrained and mostly proper, at least on the surface.
The year is 1959 and Ms. Husband returns to the small English town of Thorp. The story centers on Peter and Jack but with strong side stories about Harry (the lawyer) and Val (the girlfriend). There are several cameo appearances by characters from other books just to spice things up. These are multidimensional characters and each one is an integral in telling the whole story.
I have to admit that I didn't figure out the main plot twist -- unusual for me. The ending actually astonished me. I kept shaking my head in disbelief. And yet, upon reflection, I can see that it was really the only ending that made sense. I am actually thinking about rereading the book to figure out how the author so successfully pulled me through the story without giving herself away.
This is a great "literary fiction" piece that I highly recommend.
Here's the "official stuff":
When Peter Wright's father dies he leaves his entire fortune to Peter's best friend Jack. Over a few weeks in the summer of 1959 the consequences of the old man's legacy seriously affect three men's lives, Jack, who has brought up his three children alone since his wife was killed, Wright's solicitor Harry, who is trying to rebuild his relationship with his estranged son Guy, and Peter himself, whose friendship with Jack is threatened by his father's death and the terrible secrets he has kept since his return from the Japanese POW camps.
The Good Father explores the nature of fatherhood and the bonds between fathers and their children in a gripping story of love, betrayal and adultery.