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The Good Father Hardcover – 29 Mar 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 156 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; First Edition edition (29 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444730363
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444730364
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.9 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 182,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Brilliant and heartbreaking, The Good Father is a thriller, a mystery and above all else a savagely contemporary, hugely important story . . . it will haunt the reader for a long time. (Tony Parsons)

It is rare that a novel so considered is also so gripping. Intense and utterly humane, THE GOOD FATHER is a book, the moment you finish it, you just know you will want to read again. A tremendous achievement. (Simon Lelic)

Riveting, moving, unique. This novel deserves to become a classic. (Sophie Hannah)

I read THE GOOD FATHER into the small hours. It is that rare gem: a genuine literary thriller, as deep as it is wide. A beautiful, moving and important novel. (Erin Kelly, author of The Poison Tree)

An unblinking look at the ills of modern America, and a conclusion: love might address them in a way that wealth cannot. (Justin Webb, presenter of the Today programme on BBC Radio 4)

An examination of conspiracy theories and political assassinations. (Mark Billingham)

Discovering a way to be the good father in this context requires great imagination, and Hawley has written a convincing novel about the disturbing endurance of parental responsibility. (The Times Literary Supplement)

Noah Hawley's flawless writing and staggeringly impressive narrative authority make THE GOOD FATHER so harrowingly plausible . . . a memorable, moving and unputdownable masterpiece. (Sunday Express)

To what extent can a father's actions mess up his child's life? How responsible is a parent when their child does something really wrong? These are the questions posed by the American author Noah Hawley's gripping new novel, THE GOOD FATHER, and perhaps it is because these questions feel particularly relevant now that the novel has struck such a chord. (The Sunday Times Style magazine)

This debut . . . explodes like a hand grenade with a force that drives the breath from your body. But, like every great story, it starts from a simple premise - what if your son assassinated a presidential candidate in the United States? Could you believe it? Would you blame yourself? . . . This isn't only a forensic examination of modern fatherhood; it's also a brutal attack on U.S. gun culture, and a reflection on the country's appetite for assassination. Haunting, terrible and yet utterly real, it's superbly written with a marvellous feel for the American landscape and its soul. It's also a tantalising thriller. (Daily Mail)

THE GOOD FATHER packs [a] considerable emotional punch. Not as a harrowing investigation of evil, a critique of gun violence in America or a guide to good parenting, but as an account of a father finally accepting his child, for better or worse, until death do them part. Male readers: get your hankies at the ready. (Independent on Sunday)

This is something different: edgy and confrontational in its treatment of the devastating effects of America's gun culture but shot through with real emotional heft and featuring characters it is impossible not to care about . . . powerful, involving and full of provocative invective. (Daily Express)

Timely and unsettling . . . [a] curious but beguiling mixture of fact and fiction (Telegraph)

Gripping . . . echoes Don DeLillo (The Sunday Times)

An agonizing but irresistible look into the souls of a killer and a man who always thought he was a good, or good enough, father. (Wall Street Journal)

Tackles the theme of parental soul-searching in the face of a child's arrest for a criminal . . . a powerful narrative that builds relentlessly to a stunning emotional climax. (Chicago Tribune)

An exploration of the anxieties and challenges of parenthood, the flimsy grasp we have on our pasts when it most counts, and, ultimately, the extent to which our characters and fates are shaped by nature, nurture and chance . . . Family, the book seems to be saying, never breaks down completely, no matter how neglected or strained. Paul's instinctive willingness to take on the world for his son, at all costs, is a moving evocation of the bonds of blood . . . the prose has all the qualities of modern literary classic. (Huffington Post UK)

Ostensibly a crime thriller, in American screenwriter Noah Hawley's hands it plays out more as a meditation on fatherhood with a subplot that brilliantly subverts the romance of the American road trip . . . sure to be a massive hit on both sides of the Atlantic. (Huffington Post UK)

With nimble prose and acute psychological insight, Hawley traces Allen's guilt-racked quest to prove his son's innocence. The result is a moving family saga that explores the intriguing notion of a statue of limitations on parental responsibility. (People)

Noah Hawley taps into Lionel Shriver and Jared Lee Loughner for THE GOOD FATHER, which tracks a man's descent into the mind of his son, arrested for killing a presidential front-runner. (Publishers Weekly best books of Spring 2012)

With great skill, Hawley renders Dr. Allen's treacherous emotional geography, from his shock and guilt to his growing sense tha the knows far less about his son than he thought . . . (Publisher's Weekly)

A heartfelt and beautifully written novel . . . Comparisons with We Need To Talk About Kevin will be inevitable as THE GOOD FATHER deals with a parent trying to comprehend how their child could have become a killer. Written from the point of view of a father questioning his parenting skills. Noah Hawley gives the age old question of nature versus nurture a fresh angle. This is a novel about family, love and the decisions we make. Well written, thrilling and compelling. I highly recommend it. (U Magazine (Ireland))

A gripping and poignant novel that chimes with We Need to Talk About Kevin and Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild. The Good Father is a clever dissection of American gun culture, and what it means to love and trust someone. The perfect reading group book. (Patrick Neale in the Bookseller)

A solid, gripping story that is as clever as it is bold, stripping down the paternal relationship to uncover the complex people beneath. (Associated Press)

This emotionally fraught and acutely perceptive novel questions the concept of nurturing and how children of seemingly bright, caring parents can grow up and go seriously off the rails. There's a very big moment in this novel, and it delivers. (Daily Mirror)

A thriller, a drama, a search for sanity in an insane situation; you absolutely must read this book. (Weekend Post (Cairns, Australia))

A compelling and compassionate book (Eye magazine, New Zealand)

Book Description

A stunning novel of a young man accused of killing the next president of the United States, and his father's quest to understand what happened. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Format: Hardcover
Normally I wouldn't bother to review a book that has already received so many well-written reviews, but Noah Hawley's novel, "The Good Father", struck a cord with me so I felt compelled to write something, as well as to reward it with the five stars it deserves. I suppose the question I want to ask is where does a parent's responsibility for his child's actions end and the child's own responsibility begin for those actions?

Many other reviewers have written about the novel's plot; a young, male "loner" assassinates a rising political star in a Los Angeles college hall during a routine campaign stop. The 20 year old, Daniel Allen, is the child of divorced parents, and had shuttled between his mother in Los Angeles and his doctor-father in suburban Connecticut. His mother, an aging hippie had not provided her son with the most grounded upbringing, while his father, now on his second marriage with twin sons, did try to provide a home with structure. But Danny didn't feel he belonged any where or with anyone.

Now, not all children from divorced parents turn out badly, just as not all children from intact families turn out well-adjusted. But, it's really easy to look at a child from afar - someone else's child with problems - and feel safe in consigning that child to having lost out to a list of lousy decisions made by his parents. Particularly if the child's parents are divorced. It's far harder to rationalise a good child's fall from grace if his family has stayed together in raising him. But, how old does a child have to be and how bad do the decisions the child makes before his parent admits to him or herself, "hey, I've done what I can, I've accepted responsibility for his upbringing, but I cannot accept responsibility for the actions my adult child has taken?
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Format: Paperback
This is a well written and thought provoking book. The Good Father is narrated by Paul Allen head, of rheumatology at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital who is happily married with 2 young sons. One evening a newsflash on TV announces the assassination of a charismatic presidential candidate, Jay Seagram. Allen learns that his 20-year old son from his first unhappy marriage has been caught on video as the assassin.

Paul is consumed with the need to understand how his remote but seemingly normal child could commit such an act and join the ranks of notorious assassins such as Lee Harvey Oswald, Sirhan Sirhan, et al. Initially, Paul is in denial and cannot believe Daniel pulled the trigger and when forced to accept the videotape images he is convinced his son was brainwashed.

Paul is struggling with guilt and wonders to what extent the breakup of his first marriage and his own lack of closeness to his son may have contributed to Daniel's actions.

This is a well crafted and deeply moving account of a decent, if flawed, father's journey through denial, incomprehension and grief to acceptance of his son warts and all, for better or worse.

I know there are youngsters brought up in far worse circumstances than Daniel's who go on to become responsible well-adjusted adults and many other children from apparently very comfortable, secure backgrounds who do not achieve their potential and even resort to serious crime so perhaps Paul's guilt is ill founded.

Nevertheless I would recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Noah Hawley- the writer who adapted Fargo brilliantly for a television series - wrote this affecting book. It tells the story of Dr. Allen, mostly in his words, who is the father of a young man accused of killing a soon to be President. The writing is plain and deceptively simple, but the complexity comes in the telling. We see the estranged son, a 20 year old drop out who never felt loved, slip from reality into something altogether different as his forensically trained father tries to track down the truth.

There is a lot to admire in the story - it does not aspire to literature, yet somehow achieves it. Hawley has done a lot of research on medicine, killers and assassins and seems to know human beings. There is a strong misandric tone to the story - all men are evil,misogynistic,etc. that I found more than a bit annoying, but reflects the times we live in.

Above all, the book is about what little we know of other people. Father does not know son, that is certain. It makes me want to read his other books. Hawley is a talent, a writer of subtle skills and good storytelling.
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By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 18 Nov. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm afraid I didn't get on as well with this book as most other people did. I admire its aims and courage in dealing with difficult and in many ways unappealing subject matter: trying to understand the motivations of the assassin of a noble and popular politician and the effect of the assassin's actions on his family isn't an easy route to popularity and a wide audience, and Noah Hawley does a creditable job in attempting to explore these things. It's just that it didn't really work for me.

Hawley writes reasonably well in that his prose is generally well crafted, but it felt rather turgid to me and often left me with a slight sense of wading through treacle. The narrator's voice isn't badly done, but I didn't really find that it engaged my attention and it has some very trying traits - he used the phrase "As a doctor, I..." so often, for example, that I began to want to give him a slap. I found that the whole thing had a sense of trying just a bit too hard, and in the end, however laudable its aims and conclusions, it became quite a slog getting through it.

My problems with this book are plainly very personal because lots of others have found it very good indeed so please don't let me put you off - it's just that it didn't really appeal to me.
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