The Good Father
By Noah Hawley
(Doubleday, Hardcover, 9780385535533, 320pp.)
Publication Date: March 20, 2012
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An intense, psychological novel about one doctor's suspense-filled quest to unlock the mind of a suspected political assassin: his twenty-year old son.
As the Chief of Rheumatology at Columbia Presbyterian, Dr. Paul Allen's specialty is diagnosing patients with conflicting symptoms, patients other doctors have given up on. He lives a contented life in Westport with his second wife and their twin sons—hard won after a failed marriage earlier in his career that produced a son named Daniel. In the harrowing opening scene of this provocative and affecting novel, Dr. Allen is home with his family when a televised news report announces that the Democratic candidate for president has been shot at a rally, and Daniel is caught on video as the assassin.
Daniel Allen has always been a good kid—a decent student, popular—but, as a child of divorce, used to shuttling back and forth between parents, he is also something of a drifter. Which may be why, at the age of nineteen, he quietly drops out of Vassar and begins an aimless journey across the United States, during which he sheds his former skin and eventually even changes his name to Carter Allen Cash.
Told alternately from the point of view of the guilt-ridden, determined father and his meandering, ruminative son, The Good Father is a powerfully emotional page-turner that keeps one guessing until the very end. This is an absorbing and honest novel about the responsibilities—and limitations—of being a parent and our capacity to provide our children with unconditional love in the face of an unthinkable situation.
NOAH HAWLEY is an author, screenwriter, and producer. He has published three previous novels, conceived and run two network television shows, and written one feature film. Before creating his own shows, he was a writer and producer for the hit show Bones on FOX. He currently splits his time between Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, where he lives with his wife and daughter.
- The central theme of the novel is one of parenting, and the amount of influence a parent has on who their child grows up to be. How much responsibility does Paul ultimately bear for Daniel’s actions?
Praise for THE GOOD FATHER:
“The father of a man who assassinates a presidential candidate tries to make sense of his son’s crime in Hawley’s gripping new novel…With great skill, Hawley renders Dr. Allen’s treacherous emotional geography, from his shock and guilt to his growing sense that he knows far less about his son than he thought…Hawley’s complicated protagonist is a fully fathomed and beautifully realized character whose emotional growth never slows a narrative that races toward a satisfying and touching conclusion.”
--Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The Good Father is hypnotic and haunting and I lost all track of time when I was reading it. Suddenly the day had become night and still I was engrossed in one father’s poignant story and Noah Hawley’s mesmeric tales of a long litany of assassins.”
--Chris Bohjalian, author of The Night Strangers, The Double Bind, and Secrets of Eden
“Brilliant and heartbreaking, The Good Father is a thriller, a mystery and above all else a savagely contemporary, hugely important story about the relationship between a father and the boy he left behind in his first, failed marriage. This is a rare and important book, and it will haunt the reader for a long time. It is impossible to read the final pages without weeping, and hard to read any of it without taking a long hard look at your own life, and the damage we do when we dare to love, or let love slip away.”
--Tony Parsons, author of Man and Boy
"This book pulls off something close to impossible. It's both a thriller and a moving, literary novel. A tender father/son story I couldn't put down, a page-turner with depth."
— Stephen Elliott, author of The Adderall Diaries