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Books about Fathers and Sons

The Ministry of Special CasesThe Ministry of Special Cases by Nathan Englander

Kaddish Poznan, a Jewish man with a peculiar occupation and off-the-beaten-path sensibilities, is on a quest to find his disappeared son in 1970s Argentina. Written in lyrical prose and reminiscent of the bureaucratic absurdities of Kafka’s and Orwell’s novels, this is a story of the unavoidable rifts between fathers and sons, and a family’s descent into inescapable tragedy brought on by political unrest and gnawing questions of identity. A meaty and moving book, one that haunts and lingers.

A Long Stay In A Distant Land<A Long Stay In A Distant Land by Chieh Chieng

Louis Lum lives with his prickly father, Sonny, who listens to rap records as a way of coping with his wife’s death. The death of Louis’ mother is one in a long line of deaths that have hounded Louis’ extended family. This novel is a chronicle of their collective grief, their family myths, and their comic misadventures through each personal tragedy. Similar to The Joy Luck Club but a tad funnier and wackier. Good for picking up the soul off the floor.

The Beautiful MiscellaneousThe Beautiful Miscellaneous by Dominic Smith

Nathan Nelson, dogged by his father’s desire for a genius son, acquires synesthesia and a prodigious memory after a terrible car accident. Despite these new gifts, however, relations between Nelson and his father, a physics professor, continue to deteriorate.
In this novel, Dominic Smith captures the painfully awkward attempts of father and son to find a common language with which to explore their seemingly incompatible desires and personalities. Achingly beautiful prose and compelling characters make this a wonderful read.

A Good and Happy ChildA Good and Happy Child by Justin Evans

An eleven year-old boy, a difficult childhood, his father’s untimely death, rumors of demons real and unreal, and a cast of oddball characters are some of the ingredients of Justin Evan’s debut novel. Infused with questions of supernatural events, this is ultimately a story about the fears surrounding fatherhood (or parenthood, for that matter) and the precarious act of bringing a child into a perilous world. Gripping, quirky, edge-of-your-seat. Read in broad daylight....or not.


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