Monday, June 13, 2011

Dear Great Book Guru, I was at the fabulous Flag Day Concert this weekend sponsored by the Sea Cliff Civic Association and organized by Phil Como. The people I was sitting near were trying to come with a great book for Father's Day. Do you have any suggestions? Devoted Son

Dear Devoted, I thought that concert was wonderful, too. I was sitting next to the Mayor and First Lady of Sea Cliff Bruce and Robyn Kennedy and we all agreed it was a great afternoon, and interestingly, we did talk about a book that would make the perfect Father's Day gift: MY FATHER'S FORTUNE by Michael Frayn. Frayn was a young boy in England during World War II and in this biography of his father we learn much about that time in history and also the complicated relationship many if not all men have with their fathers. Frayn writes, “my father moved lightly over the earth, scarcely leaving a footprint, scarcely a shadow.” And herein lies the quiet beauty of the book- we become fascinated by a rather ordinary man as we see him through the eyes of his son- an extraordinarily successful novelist and playwright. Early on Frayn feels unable to live up to his father's rather mundane expectations and then as time goes on he eclipses his father's achievements. The guilt that accompanied both of these periods is finally resolved at the conclusion of the book when Frayn recognizes his father in himself and is left to wonder why it was so hard to express love and yes, gratitude.

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