- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Gallery Books; First Edition edition (September 16, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1476734356
- ISBN-13: 978-1476734354
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 61 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,288,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cry Father: A Book Club Recommendation! Hardcover – September 16, 2014
"Maybe You Should Talk to Someone" by Lori Gottlieb
"This is a daring, delightful, and transformative book." ―Arianna Huffington, Founder, Huffington Post Pre-order today
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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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Noir speaks to the dark places within us. The shadows almost feel safe when we realize that we aren’t alone in the darkness.
CRY FATHER tackles the relationships between fathers and their children. Patterson aches from the loss of his son, while Junior can’t stop picking at the wounds of his childhood and distancing himself from his young daughter. Both Patterson and Junior numb their pain with alcohol, narcotics, and dangerous escapades, and continue complicated relationships with the mothers of their children. “It occurs to Patterson that there are good choices, there are bad choices, and then there’s this one, which isn’t even on the map. It’s amazing the flat stupidity to which he’ll resort when trying to avoid a woman.”
Patterson and Junior’s nebulous friendship serves as a trigger to detonate the nitroglycerin of pain inside their hearts.
Whitmer tells the story in all its destructive glory, but he doesn’t share every single nitpicky detail about the characters’ backstories. Like a jigsaw puzzle missing a few scattered pieces, the reader fills in the gaps, and in doing so becomes a part of the story.
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 book will leave scars.
Scars you will wear proudly.