Robbie is a simple man who leads a simple life: he is a husband, a father, and a journalist, living and working in Dublin. However, his carefully crafted life has been interrupted by a phone call from his youngest sister, calling, after years of silence, to say his father is ill, and he should come ‘home’. And so Robbie returns to Dromore, Northern Ireland, and to Larkscroft Farm, the place where he grew up and the man he grew up with.
In taking care of his father – an often angry, and complex man – Robbie allows the reader into his past, revealing himself as a child, teenager, and young adult, lost in the often tumultuous world of a dysfunctional family. Such insight is rare and privileged as you begin to see that no-one in Robbie’s ‘new’ life knows anything about his past, not even his wife.
My Father’s House is a real and often raw account of family relationships. In Robbie and in his family there is a myriad of messy, mixed up people, tentatively sewing up the rips and tears on their way to reconciliation. This is a novel about birthplace, family, regret, and new beginnings.
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BETHANY DAWSON completed a Master of Philosophy in Creative Writing at Trinity College, Dublin where she was picked up by her agent and began writing in earnest. She works as the Assistant Editor of The Zimbabwean, an independent newspaper produced in the UK. Bethany currently lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland with her husband and son, but has spent time living in both Zimbabwe and South Africa.From Booklist:
Robbie Hanright is a successful journalist living in Dublin with his wife and young daughter, far away from the family dramas of his youth. But when he receives a desperate call from his sister, begging him to return home to County Down, he dutifully returns. What he finds is his father, John, living alone on the recently sold family farm and newly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Robbie and his two sisters take on the daunting task of caring for John during what will be his last days. For Robbie, time at home forces him to face his traumatic childhood, including John’s role as a difficult father and their ongoing volatile relationship. As John’s days wind down, Robbie struggles to understand him, to be the caring son his father needs, and to reconnect with his family. Beautifully written, with strong, well-developed characters readers will remember long after the story has ended, My Father’s House is the work of a skilled storyteller. Dawson’s debut is a careful, quiet exploration of family dynamics that will leave readers eagerly awaiting her next book. --Carol Gladstein
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