Father's Day by Simon Van Booy
When devastating news shatters the life of six year old Harvey, she finds herself in the care of a veteran social worker, Wanda, and alone in the world save for one relative she has never met - a disabled ex-con, haunted by a violent past he can't escape. Moving between past and present, Father's Day weaves together the story of Harvey's childhood on Long Island, and her life as a young woman in Paris.
|Father's Day by Simon Van Booy|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Luke Marlowe|
|Summary: Beautiful and emotive, Father's Day is a well-crafted tale that takes the reader on a journey of discovery, growth and love|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 304||Date: May 2016|
|External links: Author's website|
Fathers are an important part of life for most of us who are still lucky enough to have them - they can shape our childhoods and the people we become. Relationships with them can be wonderfully straightforward or woefully complicated, but there is no doubt that the word Father means a huge amount to everyone, whether good, bad, or somewhere in between.
Simon Van Booy explores the relationship between father and daughter in intricate detail, focusing on the building of a relationship between a young girl, and the man who takes her in - her Uncle. Flitting back and forth between the girl, Harvey's, childhood, and her life as an adult working in Paris, Author Van Booy builds the relationship bit by bit - seeding details throughout and weaving them together to form a book with a cleverly layered plot that nevertheless has a straightforward heart at the centre.
I'm not a particularly emotional person, and the relationship I have with my father is, , an extremely close one - but there is something in Van Booy's writing that enables him to reach right to the core of his subjects - a rawness that remains exposed despite the well written prose that surrounds it. And it's that that made this book so compelling and so moving for me - I teared up more than a few times, and was reminded of how lucky I have been to have had an extremely happy and straightforward childhood. Keeping a focus tight on two characters, Van Booy draws two characters who remain compelling despite the challenges they face and the mistakes they make - not an easy task at all. Additionally, and making a pleasant change, the author treats Social Services like the force for protection and good that they often are, rather than the team of dark cloaked baby snatchers that many books often make them out to be, rather than relying on accurate representations.
Moving, engaging and powerful, Father's Day tugs at the heartstrings but never becomes saccharine, instead relying on the strong and complicated relationship between Father and Daughter to provide drama, tension, and powerful emotion. Definitely a read I'd recommend - so many thanks to the publishers for sending me a copy. Further reading wise, Notes From An Exhibition by Patrick Gale also explores the relationship between parents and children - this time focusing on children left to reflect on the relationship they had with their mother after her death. Moving and transporting, it's also a read that comes much recommended from me. We also have a review of Van Booy's Tales of Accidental Genius.
Father's Day by Simon Van Booy is in the Top Ten Literary Fiction Books of 2016.
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