The Dead Father by Donald Barthleme. Penguin paperback, 1986. Cover design by Todd Radom; cover illustration by Lonnie Sue Johnson.
Saturn, Orpheus, Lear, Nobodaddy. A sleeping undead giant, a quest. Good angry fun. I’ll say it’s my favorite Barthelme today (answers will change in the future).
Fathers and Crows by William T. Vollmann. Penguin paperback, 1992. (An enormous paperback—990 pages—it flops slightly on the scanner, refuses to square up neatly). Cover design by Daniel Rembert employing a detail from a painting titled Le Martyrs des missionaires Jesuites (credited to “Anonymous”).
Different fathers, maybe, than the ones celebrated today, Father’s Day, the conceit I’ve lazily tied my Three Books post to…Jesuits. Or maybe they are the fathers. How many times have I tried all of this novel? If you’re interested in Vollmann’s Seven Dreams series, start with The Ice-Shirt or The Rifles instead.
King Lear by William Shakespeare. Edited by R.A. Foakes. Arden, 1997. Cover design by Interbrand Newell and Sorrell; illustration by the Douglas Brothers.
Lear is maybe my favorite fictional father. I don’t know why. The man is a fool, but a pitiable one. Maybe I just love the play that much—its abjection, its darkness, its insanity. Out vile jelly, etc. Happy Father’s Day!