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Father of Lies Hardcover – 4 Sep 1998
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"Evenson's literary genius lay in his ability to spread reasonable doubt and blur lines of inquiry." "New York Journal of Books"" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Brian Evenson: Praised by Peter Straub for going furthest out on the sheerest, least sheltered narrative precipice, Brian Evenson is the author of ten books of fiction. He has been a finalist for the Edgar Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and the World Fantasy Award and the winner of the International Horror Guild Award, the American Library Association s award for Best Horror Novel, and one of "Time Out New York" s top books. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and three O. Henry Prizes, Evenson lives in Providence, Rhode Island, where he directs Brown University s Literary Arts Program.
" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
Though murder, pederasty, and multiple personalities could have made for a gripping psychological thriller, Evenson wisely avoids the genre's overworked trappings with odd details and fresh turns of event that make the novel as memorable as it is disturbing.
Evenson's adept point-of-view shifts and experiments in form and psychic distance demonstrate a technical proficiency that allows him to alternately take readers deep inside the twisted mind of his protagonist, then back out for relieving breathers.
In the end, a quick, sobering, and worthwhile read.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Evenson's writing is concise, giving us a clear, hard look at this man and his methods. He is protraying only one man, of course -- and there are as many 'reasons' for the sort of behavior he perpetrates as there are perpetrators -- but many of the 'classic' actions are here. While on the one hand he seems to be 'out of control', hallucinating voices and seeing (and following the instructions of) multiple personalities within himself, we can also clearly see him meticulously manipulating his victims -- there is definite premeditation in his acts.
The attempt by the church to cover up the scandal as it comes more and more into the light is completely dispicable -- and, in light of recent events in the news, very topical. At first, the man's superiors place their faith in his assurances that he is innocent of any wrongdoing. When it becomes clearer and clearer that he has been lying to them, they are righteously shocked and outraged that he has deceived them -- but they made no real investigation into the allegations when they first arose.
This is not a happy novel -- but then neither are the lives of indiciduals who have suffered the 'attentions' of predators such as the one so vividly drawn here. It is, however, a novel that should be read by any adult who cares about how children are treated, and about protecting them. This is not a book for young, immature readers -- but I would be comforted if my 16 year-old read it (she's mature and intelligent).
Brian Evenson has done a great service in writing this novel -- its message is one that too many people brush aside, thinking, 'That kind of stuff never happens to anyone I know'. Statistics, sadly, show that they're wrong.
"Father of Lies" is really well-plotted and I was unable to put it down once I started reading. Despite the reservations I mentioned above, it really is an engrossing read; the tension builds nicely and climaxes well, if a bit brutally (but we expect no less from an author unafraid of disturbing his audience, in the tradition of Kafka). My biggest worry is that certain aspects of the novel make it difficult to accept as a functional critique in the manner that Evenson's foreward implies. Doesn't the criminal protagonist's explicit emotional disturbance and psychological imbalance provide him with a reason, if not a full excuse, for behaving as abominably as he does? I would have bought the critique of Fochs' actions more wholeheartedly were he depicted as having a choice or any authority at all over them. His madness decides, though, and not he.
If details like this don't bother you, though, you're in for a harrowing and exciting read. But if you really want to discover Evenson at his finest, buy "Altmann's Tongue" or "Contagion" (which has his O. Henry-winner "The Brothers" in it).