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Cry Father Hardcover – September 16, 2014
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"Cry Father is strong medicine. It burns going down, but there's healing in that dose as well. It's a book that put me in the mind of my own Dad and made me think of my own duties as a father. And any book that can reach inside your heart and mind and force you to reflect on such things is doing something very, very right indeed." (Craig Davidson, author of Rust and Bone and Cataract City)
“Whitmer writes about the rustbelt of life. Showing the seedy, the dark, and the things that others are afraid to show.” (Frank Bill, author of Crimes in Southern Indiana)
“Searing, spare, beautiful prose and characters who arrive on the page already well-worn. A pebble tossed into this novel reveals concentric waves of violence, guilt, culpability, shame, and vengeance – and yet when the surface settles, astonishingly, there is hope.” (Sophie Littlefield, author of Garden of Stones and The Missing Place)
“Since the death of Larry Brown there have been at least a dozen novelists touted as the heir to Brown’s gritty throne. Needless to say, there have been few who’ve actually lived up to the promise. However, Benjamin Whitmer’s stark debut [Pike] easily rivals Brown’s most renowned novels.” (Spinetingler Magazine)
Benjamin Whitmer writes with fearless and savage veracity, beautiful and brutal in equal measure. (Christa Faust, Author of Money Shot)
In prose both beautiful and raw...Whitmer presents an Americana too long off the mainstream literary grid. Brilliant. (Charlie Stella, Author of Shakedown)
"Whitmer's bleak tale of dysfunctional father-son relationships contains some shockingly violent scenes, captures the seedy milieus of rundown mountain towns, and tallies the enormous cost of loving and losing." (Booklist)
"Whitmer’s deft descriptions of biker bars, greasy spoons and mean streets are as spot-on as his clear, clean appreciation of the high country where the 'peaks...look like earth torn out of the sky.'" (Kirkus Reviews)
"Benjamin Whitmer’s latest, Cry Father, is a gut punch of raw storytelling power. A novel of fathers and sons, and the constant—and at times emotionally crippling—mistakes both make. Much like Whitmer’s first novel, it is absolutely uncompromising and one of 2014's must read novels." (Lit Reactor)
About the Author
Benjamin Whitmer is the author of Cry Father and Pike, which was nominated for the 2013 Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, and coauthor (with Charlie Louvin) of Satan is Real, a New York Times' Critics' Choice book. He was born and raised on back-to-the-land communes and counterculture enclaves ranging from Southern Ohio to Upstate New York. One of his earliest and happiest memories is of standing by the side of a country road with his mother, hitchhiking to parts unknown. Since then, he's been a factory grunt, a vacuum salesman, a convalescent, a high-school dropout, a graduate student, a semi-truck loader, an activist, a kitchen-table gunsmith, a squatter, a college professor, a dishwasher, a technical writer, and a petty thief.
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Top Customer Reviews
Henry is Patterson's neighbor and one of his only friends. He's an ex-rodeoer trying to forgive himself for a lifetime of mistakes.
Junior is a drug runner and sh*t starter with a penchant for blow, booze and violence. He's Henry's estranged son. He doesn't think much of his old man and when he's on a bender he's willing to let Henry know with his fists.
What starts as Patterson warning Junior to keep his hands off of Henry turns into an unlikely friendship between the two. Patterson knows Junior is trouble, but his curiosity and self loathing won't let him walk away. Patterson is helpless as he's pulled into Junior's vortex of drug addled mayhem. A lethal confrontation with a meth crazed co-worker named Chase sets Patterson on a dark and winding course. The consequences of which follow Patterson back to his front door when Mel (meth selling bike gang leader and Chase's wife) turns up, gun in hand, looking for Chase. Meanwhile, Junior is caught in the crosshairs of the very same Mexican drug cartel he works for. They'll both have to kill a lot of people if they want to stay above ground. And when the dust settles Junior can no longer keep his promise to leave Henry be, which puts Junior and Patterson on a collision course and more blood is spilled before the bitter, harrowing end.
Benjamin Whitmer is a hell of a writer. His prose is stark, bone crunching and often darkly poetic. This tale of fathers and their severed/fractured relationships with their children (and themselves and each other) is raw, brutal and heartbreaking. You won't want to put it down.
Pike, Whitmer's debut novel, is easily my favorite book of the last decade. I had high hopes for Cry Father and Whitmer (not surprisingly) managed to exceed them. Highly, highly, highly recommended.
During his homecoming, he meets Junior, a coke-snorting, alcoholic drug-runner with a burning coal he calls a past and a vendetta against the man who sired him, Henry. The two are an unlikely pair, bound only by the baggage of before, Patterson's former joy, and Junior's former rage.
The past, even the recent past, can't stay buried for either of them, and the dirt out in the scrub-lands is sewn with seeds wrapped in black plastic tarps.
Whitmer has a great descriptive focus that brings the setting, the many settings into crystal clarity. The prose is written in a choppy style that would make a sixth-grade English teacher cringe, but it works so well here, punctuating each scene, snapping your mind to every little nuance. It's a very immersive read. And there really isn't a character in this book that isn't at least three layers deep.
From my review page, Rogues Alleyway Reviews
This story of fathers -- of choices, and of mistakes -- connects deeply with me as a father and as a son. I'd like to believe there is hope for making up for past mistakes, but the reality is sometimes there isn't ever time enough. We just move forward until we no longer do.
While I shamble into my future, I hope it is filled with more Benjamin Whitmer.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am stunned by how good Cry Father is.Read more
I've lived in the trenches, so this story hits close to home for me.Read more