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Saturday, December 19, 2015

#38: The Mt. Rushmore Series

Inspired by my niece's suggestion, the 38th iteration of my Mt. Rushmore series enshrines four flawed fathers from great novels. Which literary paterfamilias you'd have been unhappy to have as a Dad belong on your mountain? Mine are listed alphabetically.

1.) Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom (from John Updike's Rabbit tetralogy): Rabbit's flaws are legion yet he somehow retains a rakish charm right up to his last breath in the final novel of the series - "Rabbit At Rest". In my view, his worst moments occur in the second  book - "Rabbit Redux" - but I'm curious to hear your take if you've spent any time in Rabbit land.

2.) Ally Fox ( from "Mosquito Coast" by Paul Theroux): Because of his hubris and arrogance, I'm still not sure how to interpret my wife telling me - after she read the book - I would "...love ..." the main character in Theroux's novel. Though my subsequent close identification with Fox's iconoclastic views made me uncomfortable, he is brilliantly drawn and deserves a spot on my mountain.

3.) David Lurie (from "Disgrace" by JM Coetzee): From a novel that has been in my top 25 since I read it soon after its release, David Lurie was the first damaged Dad to come to me. His inability to provide any solace to his young adult daughter following her brutal assault was very difficult to read.

4.) Nathan Price (from "Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver): From the only novel ever getting a unanimous "home run" designation from my reading posse, the tragic evangelist Nathan Price is also the only flawed father from my mountain not yet depicted on film. If Kingsolver's masterpiece ever gets made into a movie, Clive Owens was born to play the role. Mark my words.

I'd love to hear your choices. Now if my niece doesn't chime in with at least one idea, all the rest of you are off the hook.

1 comment:

  1. I know you are going to disqualify my answer because it is not a novel - but the first father that came to mind was Jeanette Walls' father as described in The Glass Castle. An alcoholic who could not hold a job, Dad was an irresponsible parent who was led the family through a number of "skedaddles" (surreptitious and sudden moves from town to town - usually to escape debtors). At the same time, there was love (a twisted love, but love) and an ablity to use his imagination as an escape, which led to the title of the book. Never mind that the foundation of the castle became the family's Welch WV garbage dump. Sometimes real life trumps anything available in fiction. And I can't believe you remember my comment about Ally Fox - I think I read that in 1979 and have no idea why I said that. Can't remember.