Father of the Rain

Father of the Rain

[a Novel]

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
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Prize-winning author Lily King's masterful new novel spans three decades of a volatile relationship between a charismatic, alcoholic father and the daughter who loves him.

Gardiner Amory is a New England WASP who's beginning to feel the cracks in his empire. Nixon is being impeached, his wife is leaving him, and his worldview is rapidly becoming outdated. His daughter, Daley, has spent the first eleven years of her life negotiating her parents' conflicting worlds: the liberal, socially committed realm of her mother and the conservative, decadent, liquor-soaked life of her father. But when they divorce, and Gardiner's basest impulses are unleashed, the chasm quickly widens and Daley is stretched thinly across it.

As she reaches adulthood, Daley rejects the narrow world that nourished her father's fears and prejudices, and embarks on her own separate life--until he hits rock bottom. Lured home by the dream of getting her father sober, Daley risks everything she's found beyond him, including her new love, Jonathan, in an attempt to repair a trust broken years ago.

A provocative story of one woman's lifelong loyalty to her father, Father of the Rain is a spellbinding journey into the emotional complexities and magnetic pull of family.
Publisher: New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, 2010
ISBN: 9780802119490
Branch Call Number: KING
Characteristics: 354 p

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m
MajorMajorX2
Jan 22, 2016

An interesting read, but not quite as action packed as Euphoria. It made it through but felt my attention wandering.

mvkramer Nov 22, 2015

Like many other reviewers, I read "Euphoria" and loved it, then read this...and, well, didn't. This book suffers from "tell don't show" characterization, in which the narrator assures us of a certain trait in another character and expect us to take their word for it despite all evidence to the contrary. In this case, Daley tells us over and over how charismatic her father is - but we only ever see him being a jerk. Why does he have such a hold over her that she'd go back and take care of him when she has her dream job and sexy boyfriend waiting for her? In the end, that failure of characterization killed the book for me. Well, that and the extremely slow-moving plot and a few cringe-inducing sex scenes.

u
uncommonreader
Jul 30, 2014

An emotional page-turner, this novel is a portrait of an alcoholic, mean, manipulative father and his daughter. The father is East coast and middle class; the context is Nixon to Obama. The story asks the question can someone love and "save" the person who is ruining one's life? Well-written across three time frames and well-done.

s
sabrinaadikes
Jul 11, 2014

Complex and honest. I couldn't put it down.

d
DorisWaggoner
May 25, 2014

The first section of this first person narrative is the strongest. Eleven year old Daley is pulled apart by her disparate parents, even before their separation and divorce. When she has to spend weekends at the home where the family used to live, now "occupied," in every sense of the word, by his new wife and her children, she is devastated. The son is a classmate, so she knew the family; the stepmother is cruel and enables her father's drinking. Daley can't tell her mother why she comes home so upset, so their relationship suffers. The picture of the effects on a child of alcoholism is devastating. Once on her own in college, Daley flies, but her first relationships are, predictably, with men like her father. Until she finds Jonathan. Even then, it's predictable that something--his color--is something her father would find unacceptable. Just when she's gotten a professorship to Berkeley, her brother calls, telling her their father's hit rock bottom. He's had enough, and it's Daley's turn. The second section is the story of her return to her father's home and attempt to stop drinking. I kept wanting to tell her not to do this, as Jonathan told her. In the final section, when she's given up on her father and found her own life, a resolution finally comes. I wasn't sure whether this wasn't too pat, but at least felt I could give a sigh of relief. I read this book feeling so much empathy for Daley that my stomach was clenched for her sake, even when things seemed to be going well for her. Beautifully written; I think I'll read her other books.

h
hellandback
Aug 02, 2013

First person account of a daughter witnessesing the slow, relentless destruction of her father from alcoholism. Broken into 3 narrative parts, the first was my favorite - her life as an 11-yr-old when her parents split, her mother having had enough. Part 2 claims the bulk of the narrative, as a mid-20s Daley derails her own life to try to help her father after his second marriage collapses. This was rather frustrating, and I can't help but think that every reader is thinking, "NO! NO!, get in the car and drive away!" but of course, she doesn't, just like the girl in the horror movie heads barefoot into the basement in her nightgown with only a candle. Part 3 concludes in a semi-satisfying way, but this author's strength is not in the story so much as the way she tells it. Some delicious prose here, and I'd give her another shot.

sunny143 Jul 02, 2011

Love this writer's style. A beautifully written book about growing up with an alcoholic father and the impact it has on children well into adulthood. Great character development that literally pulls the reader into the story. It was like watching a movie instead of reading a book. Sad, funny, frightening, sad, hopeful.

c
cartar
Jan 14, 2011

I enjoyed this book. It's well written and hard to put down, tragic and real.

m
mmack
Dec 16, 2010

Beautfiul, well written book, very unusual

l
lightbytheway
Oct 31, 2010

Father of the Rain
by Lily King

Lily King has written two previous novels which won praise and awards. In "Father of the Rain" King she handles themes of father/daughter relationship , dysfunctional family, alcoholism and more with a real understanding of the psychological and social implications and with believable characters. Daley is an eleven year old who has to deal with enormous pressures, from both of her parents. Her father Gardiner Amory is an out of control Harvard educated alcoholic who struggles to keep face in his well to do New England waspish neighborhood while behaving irresponsibly, jumping around naked in the pool with the kids, reading PlayBoy letters to them and worst. The mother is devoted to giving out political parties and hardly noticing her own kids. Both competing for their kids allegiance.
Gardiner, a bigot, is abandoned by his wife and quickly remarries and takes in an already formed family which Daley has to deal with in her weekend visits, where she feels her house, her room have been taken over.
As Daley grows up we see her as a PHD graduate that has just landed a job in Berkeley
and has fallen in love with Jonathan, also a graduate, who she plans to live with in California and whose color will certainly set off his father's insensitive opinions. Daley's brother calls for help. Gardiner is drinking around the clock, depressed and in danger of suicide. He pleads with her. He asks her to visit their father and sort him out, just when she was planning to move out west. This decision will prove to be an excruciating journey. She intends to heal and mend her father, and their relationship with each other. To love a person who she hated many times and to expect to be loved motivates her to carry on despite his counterproductive behavior. Will she manage to succeed? What about Jonathan...Will she lose him forever?
Remarkably achieves to get the readers to intimately know the characters and the topic from a realistic perspective.

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h
hellandback
Aug 02, 2013

First person account of a daughter witnessesing the slow, relentless destruction of her father from alcoholism. Broken into 3 narrative parts, the first was my favorite - her life as an 11-yr-old when her parents split, her mother having had enough. Part 2 claims the bulk of the narrative, as a mid-20s Daley derails her own life to try to help her father after his second marriage collapses. This was rather frustrating, and I can't help but think that every reader is thinking, "NO! NO!, get in the car and drive away!" but of course, she doesn't, just like the girl in the horror movie heads barefoot into the basement in her nightgown with only a candle. Part 3 concludes in a semi-satisfying way, but this author's strength is not in the story so much as the way she tells it. Some delicious prose here, and I'd give her another shot.

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