Dad (Magill's Literary Annual 1982)
A life beginning, a life ending, a life caught in between: this is the scheme upon which Dad is based. John Tremont, at fifty-two, has lived in Europe for many years, painting, rearing a family, becoming the kind of man his parents hardly would recognize as their son. His own son has left France, set off across America to discover himself; his daughter, too, has embarked on her own life. Tremont would be willing to remain in France, painting, growing older, slowly watching the gray in his beard spread, occasionally writing or sending a Christmas card to his aging parents. Circumstances, however, force Tremont to look more closely at himself, his parents, and his children. Life, he discovers, is more complicated than he has been willing to admit. It is both more painful and more ludicrous than he has dared to realize. It also may be more beautiful, but whatever it is, it is not comfortable or easy. Oddly enough, he discovers that the anguish and the absurdity, as well as the beauty exposed by them, make life more worth living.
The conflict between generations has been a theme in literature for centuries, but Dad is less about the antagonism between one generation and another than about the struggle of one generation to comprehend the other. Each generation seems to look upon the other with awe and amazement, as if it had crawled out of the sea or landed from another planet. Each individual is so caught up in himself—or herself—that he...
(The entire section is 1775 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1982)
The Atlantic Monthly. CCXLVII, June, 1981, p. 100.
Library Journal. CVI, May 15, 1981, p. 1101.
The New Republic. CLXXXIV, May 16, 1981, p. 8.
New Statesman. CII, September 18, 1981, p. 26.
The New York Review of Books. XXVIII, August 13, 1981, p. 44.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXVI, May 24, 1981, p. 8.
Newsweek. XCVII, June 1, 1981, p. 82.
Saturday Review. VIII, May, 1981, p. 69.
Time. CXVII, June 1, 1981, p. 77.
Times Literary Supplement. September 25, 1981, p. 1092.
(The entire section is 58 words.)