The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Who's Your Daddy?

Happy Father’s Day! The Canadian Writers Collective would like to know: who’s your favourite literary father? From Hamlet’s Ghost to (Don’t Hop on) Pop, Dads have shown up to challenge, support, abuse, encourage, nurture, sacrifice, inspire and tickle their offspring. Who’s made the biggest impression on you? Bonus points (of course) for Canadian!


Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

The father in Ann-Marie MacDonald's Fall on Your Knees leaps to mind. I think this book was a really significant contribution to Canadian Literature. We have plenty of good-for-you sensitive slim arty novels, but this is our big rollicking blockbuster- totally fun to read, full of melodrama and comedy. Quirky characters, memorable situations, complexity that goes down easily and is cleverly pulled together by the end- this book says: we have our Dickens (if ‘our Dickens’ isn't Robertson Davies or Rohinton Mistry. Heck, maybe we can have a few!) The father in this novel is deeply flawed and fully human and made me fling the book across the room in anger. I think this is the only novel I have slammed shut, set squarely on the couch beside me and pummeled. You've gotta love that!

Sun Jun 18, 03:18:00 pm GMT-4  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although Dylan Thomas was not Canadian, he wrote this poem during his father's final days, embracing all humanity.

"Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night," by Dylan Thomas

"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

From The Poems of Dylan Thomas, published by New Directions. Copyright © 1952

Sun Jun 18, 04:21:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

My Can-Con favourite is Patrick Lewis in Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion. I adored him for his quiet complexity and I think his lack of presence (as it were) in The English Patient is one of the reasons I didn't like it as much.

Another memorable father is the grandfather, Manuel, in Alfredo Vea, Jr's La Maravilla. He's iconic: handsome, mysterious, and hilarious.

Sun Jun 18, 04:53:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Patricia said...

Ohhhh...god..I feel like such a ditz about this question...a favorite literary father??? god! and no, my answer isn't god...I'm going to say...OHHHHH....aghhhhh....the grandfather from Heidi! frig a frigging duck!!

Mon Jun 19, 02:24:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger craig said...

Atticus Finch - no question.

Mon Jun 19, 04:29:00 pm GMT-4  
Anonymous Jeff Landon said...

I like the dads in Ron Carlson's stories. They are, for the most part, decent, human, funny and (the key thing) kind.

Sun Jun 25, 12:18:00 am GMT-4  

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