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The Good Father [Kindle Edition]

Noah Hawley
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)

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Book Description

An intense, psychological novel about one doctor's suspense-filled quest to unlock the mind of a suspected political assassin: his twenty-year old son.
 
As the Chief of Rheumatology at Columbia Presbyterian, Dr. Paul Allen's specialty is diagnosing patients with conflicting symptoms, patients other doctors have given up on. He lives a contented life in Westport with his second wife and their twin sons—hard won after a failed marriage earlier in his career that produced a son named Daniel. In the harrowing opening scene of this provocative and affecting novel, Dr. Allen is home with his family when a televised news report announces that the Democratic candidate for president has been shot at a rally, and Daniel is caught on video as the assassin. 
    
Daniel Allen has always been a good kid—a decent student, popular—but, as a child of divorce, used to shuttling back and forth between parents, he is also something of a drifter. Which may be why, at the age of nineteen, he quietly drops out of Vassar and begins an aimless journey across the United States, during which he sheds his former skin and eventually even changes his name to Carter Allen Cash.
    
Told alternately from the point of view of the guilt-ridden, determined father and his meandering, ruminative son, The Good Father is a powerfully emotional page-turner that keeps one guessing until the very end. This is an absorbing and honest novel about the responsibilities—and limitations—of being a parent and our capacity to provide our children with unconditional love in the face of an unthinkable situation.


Editorial Reviews

Review

Brilliant and heartbreaking, THE GOOD FATHER is a thriller, a mystery and above all else a savagely contemporary, hugely important story ... it will haunt the reader for a long time. Tony Parsons It is rare that a novel so considered is also so gripping. Intense and utterly humane, THE GOOD FATHER is a book, the moment you finish it, you just know you will want to read again. A tremendous achievement. Simon Lelic Riveting, moving, unique. This novel deserves to become a classic. Sophie Hannah I read THE GOOD FATHER into the small hours. It is that rare gem: a genuine literary thriller, as deep as it is wide. A beautiful, moving and important novel. Erin Kelly, author of The Poison Tree An unblinking look at the ills of modern America, and a conclusion: love might address them in a way that wealth cannot. Justin Webb, presenter of the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 An examination of conspiracy theories and political assassinations. Mark Billingham Discovering a way to be the good father in this context requires great imagination, and Hawley has written a convincing novel about the disturbing endurance of parental responsibility. The Times Literary Supplement Noah Hawley's flawless writing and staggeringly impressive narrative authority make THE GOOD FATHER so harrowingly plausible ... a memorable, moving and unputdownable masterpiece. Sunday Express To what extent can a father's actions mess up his child's life? How responsible is a parent when their child does something really wrong? These are the questions posed by the American author Noah Hawley's gripping new novel, THE GOOD FATHER, and perhaps it is because these questions feel particularly relevant now that the novel has struck such a chord. The Sunday Times Style magazine This debut ... explodes like a hand grenade with a force that drives the breath from your body. But, like every great story, it starts from a simple premise - what if your son assassinated a presidential candidate in the United States? Could you believe it? Would you blame yourself? ... This isn't only a forensic examination of modern fatherhood; it's also a brutal attack on U.S. gun culture, and a reflection on the country's appetite for assassination. Haunting, terrible and yet utterly real, it's superbly written with a marvellous feel for the American landscape and its soul. It's also a tantalising thriller. Daily Mail THE GOOD FATHER packs [a] considerable emotional punch. Not as a harrowing investigation of evil, a critique of gun violence in America or a guide to good parenting, but as an account of a father finally accepting his child, for better or worse, until death do them part. Male readers: get your hankies at the ready. Independent on Sunday This is something different: edgy and confrontational in its treatment of the devastating effects of America's gun culture but shot through with real emotional heft and featuring characters it is impossible not to care about ... powerful, involving and full of provocative invective. Daily Express Timely and unsettling ... [a] curious but beguiling mixture of fact and fiction Telegraph Gripping ... echoes Don DeLillo The Sunday Times An agonizing but irresistible look into the souls of a killer and a man who always thought he was a good, or good enough, father. Wall Street Journal Tackles the theme of parental soul-searching in the face of a child's arrest for a criminal ... a powerful narrative that builds relentlessly to a stunning emotional climax. Chicago Tribune An exploration of the anxieties and challenges of parenthood, the flimsy grasp we have on our pasts when it most counts, and, ultimately, the extent to which our characters and fates are shaped by nature, nurture and chance ... Family, the book seems to be saying, never breaks down completely, no matter how neglected or strained. Paul's instinctive willingness to take on the world for his son, at all costs, is a moving evocation of the bonds of blood ... the prose has all the qualities of modern literary classic. Huffington Post UK Ostensibly a crime thriller, in American screenwriter Noah Hawley's hands it plays out more as a meditation on fatherhood with a subplot that brilliantly subverts the romance of the American road trip ... sure to be a massive hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Huffington Post UK With nimble prose and acute psychological insight, Hawley traces Allen's guilt-racked quest to prove his son's innocence. The result is a moving family saga that explores the intriguing notion of a statue of limitations on parental responsibility. People Noah Hawley taps into Lionel Shriver and Jared Lee Loughner for THE GOOD FATHER, which tracks a man's descent into the mind of his son, arrested for killing a presidential front-runner. Publishers Weekly best books of Spring 2012 With great skill, Hawley renders Dr. Allen's treacherous emotional geography, from his shock and guilt to his growing sense tha the knows far less about his son than he thought ... Publisher's Weekly A heartfelt and beautifully written novel ... Comparisons with We Need To Talk About Kevin will be inevitable as THE GOOD FATHER deals with a parent trying to comprehend how their child could have become a killer. Written from the point of view of a father questioning his parenting skills. Noah Hawley gives the age old question of nature versus nurture a fresh angle. This is a novel about family, love and the decisions we make. Well written, thrilling and compelling. I highly recommend it. U Magazine (Ireland) A gripping and poignant novel that chimes with We Need to Talk About Kevin and Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild. The Good Father is a clever dissection of American gun culture, and what it means to love and trust someone. The perfect reading group book. Patrick Neale in the Bookseller A solid, gripping story that is as clever as it is bold, stripping down the paternal relationship to uncover the complex people beneath. Associated Press This emotionally fraught and acutely perceptive novel questions the concept of nurturing and how children of seemingly bright, caring parents can grow up and go seriously off the rails. There's a very big moment in this novel, and it delivers. Daily Mirror A thriller, a drama, a search for sanity in an insane situation; you absolutely must read this book. Weekend Post (Cairns, Australia) A compelling and compassionate book Eye magazine, New Zealand This book will hold your heart and mind in a vise and not release them, even when the last page becomes a memory ... and believe me, that last page will become a searing, vivid memory ... Hawley's research is faultless and detailed. He shows us the mind of a father trying to prevent himself from falling into an abyss, a mind that tries to survive by relating the horror back to something familiar: his experience in medicine. The author also manages an interesting transformation. The more that the Doctor frays at the edges, the more humane (and, for me, likeable) he becomes. It's as if, when everything that we know and believe in is stripped from us, the only thing that remains and develops is our humanity ... THE GOOD FATHER is an excellent thriller, but more than that, it's a study of how well we know our children, how well our children understand us and, most importantly, the butterfly effect of a single word, action or event. This is the sort of novel that could encourage the examination of our interaction with children and that can't be a bad thing. The Bookbag Blog Heartbreaking. Image (Ireland) What sets it apart is the way it manages to be both a thriller and also an exploration of a father's unconditional love for his son. What Noah Hawley then produces is a brilliantly-written thrilling whodunnit full of conspiracy theories and red herrings that has at its heart one thing: the love between father and son. Pick up THE GOOD FATHER and you won't be able to put it down. Fabulous Magazine

Review

'Brilliant and heartbreaking, The Good Father is a thriller, a mystery and above all else a savagely contemporary, hugely important story ... it will haunt the reader for a long time.' -- Tony Parsons 'It is rare that a novel so considered is also so gripping. Intense and utterly humane, THE GOOD FATHER is a book, the moment you finish it, you just know you will want to read again. A tremendous achievement.' -- Simon Lelic 'Riveting, moving, unique. This novel deserves to become a classic.' -- Sophie Hannah 'I read THE GOOD FATHER into the small hours. It is that rare gem: a genuine literary thriller, as deep as it is wide. A beautiful, moving and important novel.' -- Erin Kelly, author of The Poison Tree 'An unblinking look at the ills of modern America, and a conclusion: love might address them in a way that wealth cannot.' -- Justin Webb, presenter of the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 'An examination of conspiracy theories and political assassinations.' -- Mark Billingham 'Noah Hawley's flawless writing and staggeringly impressive narrative authority make THE GOOD FATHER so harrowingly plausible ... a memorable, moving and unputdownable masterpiece.' -- Sunday Express 'To what extent can a father's actions mess up his child's life? How responsible is a parent when their child does something really wrong? These are the questions posed by the American author Noah Hawley's gripping new novel, THE GOOD FATHER, and perhaps it is because these questions feel particularly relevant now that the novel has struck such a chord.' -- The Sunday Times Style magazine 'This debut ... explodes like a hand grenade with a force that drives the breath from your body. But, like every great story, it starts from a simple premise - what if your son assassinated a presidential candidate in the United States? Could you believe it? Would you blame yourself? ... This isn't only a forensic examination of modern fatherhood; it's also a brutal attack on U.S. gun culture, and a reflection on the country's appetite for assassination. Haunting, terrible and yet utterly real, it's superbly written with a marvellous feel for the American landscape and its soul. It's also a tantalising thriller.' -- Daily Mail 'THE GOOD FATHER packs [a] considerable emotional punch. Not as a harrowing investigation of evil, a critique of gun violence in America or a guide to good parenting, but as an account of a father finally accepting his child, for better or worse, until death do them part. Male readers: get your hankies at the ready.' -- Independent on Sunday 'This is something different: edgy and confrontational in its treatment of the devastating effects of America's gun culture but shot through with real emotional heft and featuring characters it is impossible not to care about ... powerful, involving and full of provocative invective.' -- Daily Express 'Timely and unsettling ... [a] curious but beguiling mixture of fact and fiction' -- Telegraph 'Gripping ... echoes Don DeLillo' -- The Sunday Times 'An agonizing but irresistible look into the souls of a killer and a man who always thought he was a good, or good enough, father.' -- Wall Street Journal 'Tackles the theme of parental soul-searching in the face of a child's arrest for a criminal ... a powerful narrative that builds relentlessly to a stunning emotional climax.' -- Chicago Tribune 'An exploration of the anxieties and challenges of parenthood, the flimsy grasp we have on our pasts when it most counts, and, ultimately, the extent to which our characters and fates are shaped by nature, nurture and chance ... Family, the book seems to be saying, never breaks down completely, no matter how neglected or strained. Paul's instinctive willingness to take on the world for his son, at all costs, is a moving evocation of the bonds of blood ... the prose has all the qualities of modern literary classic.' -- Huffington Post UK 'Ostensibly a crime thriller, in American screenwriter Noah Hawley's hands it plays out more as a meditation on fatherhood with a subplot that brilliantly subverts the romance of the American road trip ... sure to be a massive hit on both sides of the Atlantic.' -- Huffington Post UK 'With nimble prose and acute psychological insight, Hawley traces Allen's guilt-racked quest to prove his son's innocence. The result is a moving family saga that explores the intriguing notion of a statue of limitations on parental responsibility.' -- People 'Noah Hawley taps into Lionel Shriver and Jared Lee Loughner for THE GOOD FATHER, which tracks a man's descent into the mind of his son, arrested for killing a presidential front-runner.' -- Publishers Weekly best books of Spring 2012 'With great skill, Hawley renders Dr. Allen's treacherous emotional geography, from his shock and guilt to his growing sense tha the knows far less about his son than he thought ...' -- Publisher's Weekly 'A heartfelt and beautifully written novel ... Comparisons with We Need To Talk About Kevin will be inevitable as THE GOOD FATHER deals with a parent trying to comprehend how their child could have become a killer. Written from the point of view of a father questioning his parenting skills. Noah Hawley gives the age old question of nature versus nurture a fresh angle. This is a novel about family, love and the decisions we make. Well written, thrilling and compelling. I highly recommend it.' -- U Magazine (Ireland) 'A gripping and poignant novel that chimes with We Need to Talk About Kevin and Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild. The Good Father is a clever dissection of American gun culture, and what it means to love and trust someone. The perfect reading group book.' -- Patrick Neale in the Bookseller 'A solid, gripping story that is as clever as it is bold, stripping down the paternal relationship to uncover the complex people beneath.' -- Associated Press 'This emotionally fraught and acutely perceptive novel questions the concept of nurturing and how children of seemingly bright, caring parents can grow up and go seriously off the rails. There's a very big moment in this novel, and it delivers.' -- Daily Mirror 'A thriller, a drama, a search for sanity in an insane situation; you absolutely must read this book.' -- Weekend Post (Cairns, Australia)

Product Details

  • File Size: 1318 KB
  • Print Length: 317 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B0092G6WYG
  • Publisher: Anchor (March 20, 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005O1BYL4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,149 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Shadow Son December 31, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Noah Hawley's book THE GOOD FATHER is filled with descriptive analogies. In fact the physical book (or at least the advanced reader's copy I received) is in itself an analogy as it features a rip mended with scotch tape that slashes across a typical suburban home surrounded by lots of foliage. This cover works well with the book's plot of an affluent and professionally very successful dad who desperately tries to tape his casually treated first born back together after the son is accused of assassinating the leading candidate for United States president.

The book is told by Dr. Paul Allen a prominent medical doctor with a New York City practice and an upscale Connecticut home. At age fifty Dr. Allen lives a comfortable life with his ten years younger wife and their elementary school aged twin boys. Dr. Allen has an unsettled older son from a previous marriage named Daniel who has dropped out of college and drifted rather aimlessly around the U.S. in an attempt to find himself. Daniel has had some conflicts with his immature mother in California and briefly lived with Allen and his younger family while in high school but has not been identified as having any particular worrisome problems. In his journals though Daniel reveals he has always felt like his father's shadow son. The Allen's lives become the stuff of nightmares when Daniel shoots and kills a charismatic Montana presidential contender at a UCLA campaign rally.

The bulk of the novel describes Dr. Allen's search to understand what has happened to his son and why. As a trained physician he approaches his task with a scientific mind. He sifts through Daniel's life and reads about true life young men who gained fame through murderous attention grabbing acts.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Explaining the unexplainable March 20, 2012
Format:Hardcover
Dr. Paul Allen is a good man. As Noah Hawley's novel opens, he is enjoying the family tradition of shouting out Jeopardy questions with his wife and twin sons. The game is interrupted by breaking news. The Democratic candidate--the presumed next President of the United States--has just been shot at a public rally. The coverage is chaotic, with reports and footage coming in from a variety of sources. Finally, some images of the shooter come up on the screen. It's Daniel, Paul's 20-year-old son from his first marriage. So begins a nightmare.

I think this premise alone is enough to intrigue most readers. We've experienced these atrocities, seen the breaking news coverage, hoped for the best. Who hasn't spared just a moment to think of the people who love the perpetrators of these crimes? Just because your child turns out to be a monster, doesn't mean you stop loving them.

Within moments, Secret Service agents have shown up at Dr. Allen's door. He is taken in for questioning. They need to know everything about Daniel. He is shot, in custody, and branded as a terrorist. Paul is in shock and in denial. Yes, he's seen the footage of his son with gun in hand, but he knows that Danny didn't do it. As events unfold, Danny refuses to speak or defend himself, so it falls to his father. But Dr. Allen is a diagnostician, and even as he consistently proclaims his son's innocence, he mentally searches for the trauma that broke him.

This novel is about the people on the periphery of a terrible act. It's about the toll a child's action takes not only on the parent, but on the entire family. The story is realistic, honest, and utterly compelling. Though flawed, Paul is a hugely sympathetic protagonist, even as he's being reviled by the world.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing story and characterization December 15, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am so impressed with this book. At the beginning, the father, Paul, is a prominent doctor at Columbia-Presbyterian, living in Westport, CT with his second wife and their two children. His son Danny by his first wife has dropped out of college and taken off. Paul seems to have a perfect life until he turns on the news one evening to see that a presidential candidate has been shot and killed and his son Danny is accused of the crime. This is a terrific plot set up, but the author's depiction of characters really makes the story. He doesn't just tell the story from various points of view. He literally takes you inside the brains of Paul and Danny, and in addition, recreates the thought processes of other killers and political assassins throughout history. You get inside the minds of Charles Whitman, John Hinckley, Sirhan Sirhan, where the facts don't fit, who might be legally insane, whose thought patterns could be considered logical. I have never read anything like this. What was Danny thinking? Why doesn't Paul understand him? How can "good" parents deal with a child who has a twisted mind? It's a family drama, as well as a chilling psychological and political thriller. Read it right to the end.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Wonderful--I was up half the night December 24, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I started reading this book around eleven at night thinking that a book about a father's coming to terms with his son's killing a political candidate would be sufficiently reflective to lead into sleep. What a mistake. Almost from the first page I was fastened to my seat and just kept turning page after page as the hours went by. This is a real tour de force of a father's search for why his son did this act. He is a rheumatologist, which is described as being a medical detective for last resort cases which cannot be diagnosed. The father uses those prodigious medical skills to try to figure out what went wrong with his son Daniel.

He was divorced from Daniel's mother when he was seven. Daniel travelled back and forth to see his parents, the mother in Los Angeles, the father in New York. Just one story the author takes you through as to how Daniel almost died on one of his cross country flights as the plane lost all power, will hold you spellbound. The father interweaves with the telling of that story, and every other story, his concerns about whether that was the trigger for Daniel's becoming an assassin.

I have also read COLUMBINE and WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN. I loved those books too. Yet although this one shares a common theme and plot, it is otherwise totally different. Depending on who is selected to be the narrator for the audiobook, I may also listen to this on audiobook when it is released in that format. It is that good.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good book. I enjoyed the relationship between the two main characters.
Published 1 month ago by eloise
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
crap
Published 2 months ago by enda o halloran
4.0 out of 5 stars Sad, but worth the read
Father's quest to understand and ultimately learn to accept the actions of his son. Sad, but worth the read.
Published 3 months ago by Terrel Ratchford
4.0 out of 5 stars truly interesting
Spoiler alert: almost everything here assumes you have read the book.

Hawley does something I haven't seen before in fiction. Read more
Published 3 months ago by A critic
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written but annoying
Well written but annoying. One the whole this is a very good book, but the Dad's bewilderment is expressed as a series of questions, like "Did he do it? Read more
Published 4 months ago by C. N. Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
I had not seen much "hype" about this book so had no real idea what to expect. It is a stunning book, especially if like me, my children were part of their parents'... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book club book!
Was good easy read. So many topics for any book club to discuss. Parenting, mental illness, family, the affect of divorce. Topics are many!
Published 5 months ago by Richard J Willis
5.0 out of 5 stars All Parents Have Shortcomings
Slow start for me; however, once I became engaged in the story, I had trouble putting it down. I found myself closing associating with the father and his angst over his son. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Marilyn Ponzer
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly great book
I read Hawley's first book bc I had been impressed with his pacing and wording on his TV series "Fargo. Read more
Published 6 months ago by samuel mcneill
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I liked how it combined things in history that went along with the story line . Could not put it down once I started reading it . Read more
Published 6 months ago by Lynne Freehill
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