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The Father's Tale: A Novel by Michael…
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The Father's Tale: A Novel

by Michael O'Brien

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A long, but fantastic story. At times it seems like it's going to be a cat-and-mouse type game, but thankfully it isn't. In truth, it is a tale of love, devotion, the richness of Christian culture, the dangers of a post-Christian society, and the softening of hearts by the Father in Heaven. ( )
  Texsain | Dec 29, 2015 |
More of a 3.5 star read but can't up it to 4. There were some genuinely unique and beautiful insights as well as some rare writing in The Father's Tale. It was these that kept me going through the thousand pages. But it was all few and far between. For me at least, having read quite a bit on the topic, the history that he revealed was parochial and so simplified that in the end it gave you no real grasp of what the Russian people suffered (or despite his short token mystical nod, what the Chinese are now suffering through). I couldn't disagree more with the reviewers who paint O'Brien as a master of Russian literature. It seems more likely he has a keen eye for highlights and inserted them into his novel with some skill. As with most reviews I've read, I agree you could literally knock out the first 400 pages and begin there. Even after that, the book does NOT take you in the direction that you think it is taking you and for that I was actually glad, but it didn't make the "book" any better. The 400 or so pages wasted "developing" the character in the beginning could very well have been added at the end to flesh out the most important part of the ideas he was trying to convey. ( )
  cjyurkanin | May 22, 2013 |
I have read all of Michael O'Brien's novels published by Ignatius Press, eight in all. He is one of my favorite modern authors. It pains me to give The Father's Tale only three stars but there were some serious flaws in this book. The biggest issue is the plot line of the lost son that literally falls off the pages. It was a great disappointment to have that thread become what felt like an afterthought at the end of the book. It is possible that the author was trying to convey that the journey was more important than the end goal but it did not work for me as a reader. By happenstance, right before I read The Father's Tale, I read The Brothers Karamazov and Anna Karenina. These gave me a greater appreciation for the Russian theme of the book and the detailed look into the daily life of the Russian doctor's family and village.

If you enjoyed the philosophical quality of the writing of The Father's Tale but were frustrated by the plot difficulties, I suggest trying my two favorite O"Brien books: Strangers and Sojourners and Island of the World. ( )
  Suzanne81 | Jun 9, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 089870815X, Hardcover)

"A modern retelling of the parables The Good Shepherd and The Prodigal Son."
- Michael O'Brien

Canadian bookseller Alex Graham is a middle-age widower whose quiet life is turned upside down when his college-age son disappears without any explanation or trace of where he has gone. With minimal resources, the father begins a long journey that takes him for the first time away from his safe and orderly world. As he stumbles across the merest thread of a trail, he follows it in blind desperation, and is led step by step on an odyssey that takes him to fascinating places and sometimes to frightening people and perils.

Through the uncertainty and the anguish, the loss and the longing, Graham is pulled into conflicts between nations, as well as the eternal conflict between good and evil. Stretched nearly to the breaking point by the inexplicable suffering he witnesses and experiences, he discovers unexpected sources of strength as he presses onward in the hope of recovering his son--and himself.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:55 -0400)

"Canadian bookseller Alex Graham is a middle-age widower whose quiet life is turned upside down when his college-age son disappears without any explanation or trace of where he has gone. With minimal resources, the father begins a long journey that takes him for the first time away from his safe and orderly world. As he stumbles across the merest thread of a trail, he follows it in blind desperation, and is led step by step on an odyssey that takes him to fascinating places and sometimes to frightening people and perils. Through the uncertainty and the anguish, the loss and the longing, Graham is pulled into conflicts between nations, as well as the eternal conflict between good and evil. Stretched nearly to the breaking point by the inexplicable suffering he witnesses and experiences, he discovers unexpected sources of strength as he presses onward in the hope of recovering his son--and himself"--Jacket.… (more)

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