on 7 February 2007
This is a book about 4 sisters; Agatha, Milly, Ellen and Esther. They have lived in their crumbling farmhouse all their lives, trapped and terrified by their long deceased father. As the story unfolds we learn of happier times in their youth, and more unhappy times as they grow older.
Glaister has a wonderful knack of creating such intricate, realistic characters and I really think this is what makes her books such a success. As Agatha and Milly grow old and the house starts to crumble along with them, the descriptions of decay relating to both the characters and their surroundings are both utterly fascinating and horrifying.
This is a relatively short book which I read in one day - but this is due to the author's skill as I couldn't put it down. Highly recommended, along with Glaister's other work.
This is another welcome reissue, by the Murder Room, of an out of print, or hard to find, novels by some classic crime writers – in this case Lesley Glaister, who was ‘discovered’ by no less an author than Hilary Mantel in 1989. This is her first novel, which won both the Somerset Maugham and the Betty Trask Awards.
Honour Thy Father is a dark and unsettling book about four sisters – Agatha, the eldest, Milly, our narrator and the twins Ellen and Esther, who exist very much in a private and enclosed world of their own devising. When we are introduced to the sisters they are elderly and living in squalor in the family home, once ruled over by their father, now long dead. Gradually, we discover that things are not as they should be. Why is Milly so keen to count the knives before she puts them away and who, precisely, is George who is locked in the cellar?
Using both conversations between Agatha and Milly, plus flashbacks to the past, we gradually come to understand how the sisters have been left in their current situation – unmarried, dissatisfied, resentful and harbouring the darkest of secrets. This is an assured and well crafted debut and it is the first, but certainly not the last, novel I will read by Lesley Glaister.
Lastly, I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, for review.
on 26 July 2015
Brilliant book. I have read it before, but a long time ago, and there was so much I had forgotten. Lesley Glaister is one of my favourite authors, anyway but this, and Sheer Blue Bliss are my favourites of her books.
on 21 October 2014
I wish I'd finished reading this nearer to midday than bedtime because it contains things that have haunted me forever. In some way I am finding myself scared as if I were nine, eleven, thirteen.
Not for the first time I feel the writing certainly merits four stars but it is hard to say I 'really liked' a book that was so uncomfortable on so many levels.
The contradictory claustrophobia of Fen living permeates the lives of these four sisters, yet their ignorance is somehow not total, despite their father's attempts to make it so. Underlying all is the strength of doing what comes naturally.