The Dead Father
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This book could be the novel such an alien could have written.
I have never read anything like it before.
It t ...more
Most of the book, I thought was a 3-star deal, mainly because I found some of the sections (particularly the long moments when Emma and Julie talked to each other) to be borderline incomprehensible, and while I'm sure Barthelme knew exactly what he was doing, it was one of those situations where I was holding a book in my hands and processing words and then feeling stupid. And maybe I was too dense to understand what was going on, but regar ...more
Ascending the granite steps of the grand city library, a library sharing space with a museum, fossilized dinosaurs can be seen in the rows of fiction behind the glass walls. Been dead for while. Jill Hill and Thad Dade carry books towards the book return box.
What’s that thin sliver book?
It’s The Dead Father.
The Dead Father, is he a zombie?
No just dead but alive.
Dead but alive, then he’s a zombie.
No, he’s giant.
I don’t fallow.
You don’t fallow.
It’s Post Modern. He’s dead in a different sense, i ...more
This is the story of a son & his ...more
The Dead Father is the story of your everyday, average funeral procession for a 200 foot tall father figure who's bloodlust and libido have not been quelled by death. Barthelme comically relates the influence that Greco-Roman and Judao-Christian traditions have had on literature and life in the occidental world.. The more the narrative tries to free itself of these cosmologies the harder they pull them back into the fold.
The protagonists and their entourage painstakingly drag the "dead" father t...more
Barthelme successfully weaves up a style redolent of the best moments in Beckett, Joyce and even Borges (with many many lists). He even wrote one chapter in a spin-off style of Finnegans Wake. Very cool. One of the hippest writers who ever lived. Check dis out.
I always appreciate an extended meditation on patricide of the internal papa-super-ego, but by the end I was Barthelmed out. I mean really, how long can a person read non-sequitur dialogue? The most spectacular bit is the Manual for Sons (which is also in his compilation Sixty-six Stories), which includes advice like this:
You must become your fat...more
A lively work of postmodernism.
Postmodern literature is always difficult to review as it is often the author’s purpose to stray from conventional methods of writing. The Dead Father was not my first experience with Postmodernism. I have read a few other works within the hard-to-define genre, including works by the author that comes up in many searches on the topic: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. I will say that in my small, yet expanding ...more
Barthelme hits every note just so, commenting in perfect pitch o ...more
Mid-70s Barthelme had just the right contemporary counterculture approach to faintly Dada-ist allegory to impress my teenage self mightily. On a subsequent reading in adulthood, it seemed a bit facile, but on what I expect to be the final go-round (ars longa, vita brevis and all that), it returns to 80% satisfactory.
The Father in question is mainly He of the Judeo-Christian tradition but wit ...more
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...the embarrassment of sending away those I didn't want, the pain of sending away those I did want, out into the lifestream ...more
I suppose it's blatantly "postmodern" -- by golly, what better time to write a postmodern work than the 1970s? Of course, if you're not a fan of consciously postmodern writing, you might not enjoy the work. It's not going to honor the dead, that's for certain - Barthelme is excellent at vilifying most paradigms, so he's liable to upset certain folks. Take this on if ...more
There's also a smaller book on fathers, have to admit that it was fun but a head scratcher too.
"Little hairs of pleasure rise on back of Emma's neck. Emma suggests cooking of trout (immediate) and produces from reticule a can of sl ...more
I gave one more star than I would like to give only because I actually liked the part called A Manual for Sons. I mean I got the idea of that ...more
Things surreal have always had great appeal for me, especially the kind where a creator has the courage to resist the temptation to over-explain and hold the reader's hand.
On the surface, then, The Dead Father should have been right up my alley. I don't remember why I added it to my Goodreads queue, though having been there since 2011, it's one of the longest-tenured works in that position. Pro ...more
“The Dead Father”
Published 1975 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
The literal story of Donald Barthelme‘s “The Dead Father” is that 21 people are pulling an immensely huge man by means of a cable attached to his leg across the ground. This man is only referred to as the Dead Father, though he is very much alive. He walks, he talks, he kills things with his sword—-he is described as having a mechanical leg which is “the administrative center of his operations“, bein ...more
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" -We? Not we. Not in any sense, we. Processes are killing you, not we. Inexorable processes.”