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Our Fathers

Our Fathers

(Paperback)
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Synopsis

Hugh Provan was a Modernist hero. A dreamer, a Socialist, a man of the people, he led Scotland's towerblock programme after the war. Now he lies on a bed on the eighteenth floor. The times have changed. His flats are coming down. The idealism he learned from his mother is gone. And even as his breath goes out he clings to the old ways. His wife sings her Scots ballads to soothe him, yet his final months are plagued by memory and loss, by a bitter sense of his family and his country, who could not live up to the houses he built for them. Meanwhile the corruption hearings bring their hammer down on the past. Hugh's grandson, Jamie, comes home to watch over his dying mentor. The old man's final months bring Jamie to see what is best and worst in the past that haunts them all, and he sees the fears of his own life unravel in the land that bred him. He tells the story of his own family - a tale of pride and delusion, of nationality and strong drink, of Catholic faith and the end of the old Left. It is a tale of dark hearts and modern houses, of three men in search of Utopia. Andrew O'Hagan has written a story which is a poignant and powerful reclamation of the past and a clear sighted gaze at our relationship with history, personal and public.

Fiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: Faber and Faber Publication Date: 26/02/2000 ISBN-13: 9780571201068  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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Andrew O'Hagan is one of his generation's most exciting and most serious chroniclers of contemporary Britain. He has twice been nominated for the Man Booker Prize. He was voted one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists in 2003. He has won the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. He lives in London.

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Staff Choice

Shortlisted for the Booker back in 1999, I think this is a good novel to read in our current political climate. Told from the perspective of Jamie, returning from his English exile to see his dying grandfather. A big man in Scottish socialism after the war he believed firmly in the power of the high rise, bringing social housing and fresh air to the poor, dreaming of equality for all workers. On Jamie’s return, the flats are being torn down around him. It is not just a novel of a family and the death of an individual, but concerns the death of idealism. I think it’s a vitally important novel to read now, whatever your political views. Lyrically written, it is both an angry and melancholic rumination on what we accept as our social responsibility, and the legacy we choose to leave behind. Chavs by Owen Jones is an excellent companion piece and you could also try The Ragged Trouser Philanthropists by Robert Tressell. - Rebecca

Westfield White City Bookstore - 16/04/2012

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