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Now, however, Hugh is on his deathbed, and Jamie has returned to Ayrshire to make peace with the old man. Not surprisingly, he also finds himself reckoning with the shadow of his father--a brutal drunk who managed to alienate three generations of the family in one go. As its title suggests, O'Hagan's novel is primarily a meditation on paternity, which in Scotland, anyway, seems to amount to the kiss of death:
In my father's anger there was something of the nation. Everything torn from the ground; his mind like a rotten field.... Our fathers were made for grief. They were broken-backed. They were sick at heart, weak in the bones. All they wanted was the peace of defeat. They couldn't live in this world. They couldn't stand who they were.To his credit, Jamie can hardly stand who he is, either: he senses that grief and weakness aren't merely national conditions but human ones. And as Andrew O'Hagan's mouthpiece, he attains some splendid rhetorical heights. Yet his voice gets muffled, and sometimes silenced entirely, by the author's multigenerational ambitions. There are too many Bawns in this novel, too many tales, and too many miserable transactions between father and son. O'Hagan's prose is perhaps worth the price of admission. Yet Our Fathers, like the Scots communities that Jamie so explosively reshapes, is itself a victim of excessive sprawl. --James Marcus
i spent tweleve hours reading this book...though in the beginning, i wouldn't really say this was a page turner... Read morePublished on June 12, 2001 by Erren Geraud Kelly
"Our Fathers", by Mr. Andrew O'Hagan is a piece about a Grandfather, a Father, and one Son who has gone to great lengths to prevent becoming the third Parent in the generational... Read morePublished on February 2, 2001 by taking a rest
"Our Fathers" takes place in Scotland, and written from the point of view of Jamie, grandson of Hugh Bawn. Read morePublished on January 28, 2001 by Jill Clardy