CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

F. G. Paci.

Ottawa, Oberon Press, c1984.
193pp, paper, $27.95 (cloth), $14.95 (paper)
ISBN 0-88750-510-4 (cloth), 0-88750-511-2 (paper).

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by Boh Kinczyk.

Volume 12 Number 5
1984 September

The Father promises much but fails to deliver. It sets out to explore the painful father-son relationship: how the son inevitably outgrows—and eventually makes his peace with—his father. Paci, though, seems afraid of his subject. He ends neatly, coming almost full circle, but veering away from the dark truth.

Because he has a crippled right hand and an unusually strong inquiring mind, Stephen Mancuso, the son of an Italian immigrant baker, cannot (and does not want to) follow in his father's footsteps. Stephen will not be a baker. Oreste, the father, works with his hands, but Stephen must work with his head.

One day the boy discovers a book that will change his life: The Story of Philosophy. As he discovers Socrates "who uncannily mirrored his own question-and-answer mind," Stephen loses his faith. Losing both his real and spiritual fathers, Stephen finds an intellectual father. Sparring with Father Kiley in religion class one day, Stephen blurts out "I'm not afraid of you, Father!" Soon the young atheist turns to another intellectual father, the philosopher Wittgenstein.

Since Stephen eventually earns his doctorate in philosophy (he investigates Wittgenstein's theory of language), one would expect a few significant insights on the nature of language, and knowledge, and truth. In fact, one would expect that Stephen's thinking would be informed by the ideas of the great philosopher, but for some reason Stephen at novel's end embraces his long-lost faith, turning his back on philosophy. One does not live by books alone. It is a little too neat for me. It rings false.

The Father is a very attractive volume, and it contains some wonderful scenes. It's better-thematically richer than Paci's Black Madonna.* But I think the best is yet to come.

*Reviewed vol. X/3 1982 p.164

Boh Kinczyk, Elgin C. I., St. Thomas, ON.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works