Our Father's House

Caroline Fabre, Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (486p) ISBN 978-0-312-06434-1
This tedious first novel might have been entitled ``Daddy Dearest.'' Indeed, in a cruel-parent contest, Joan Crawford would find her match in Sir Edward Astonbury, a British captain of industry who crushes his four children under the weight of his expectations. When Edwin, the youngest son and the narrator of this family history, receives a less-than-satisfactory report card, his father sends the boy's baby bull to the slaughterhouse. He goes on to cut off his beautiful daughter for pursuing a career as a model, thwart his eldest son's romance with a business rival's niece and nearly kill another son by sending him careering down a ski slope that is well beyond his skills. The plot labors toward an act of vengeance intended to destroy the domineering patriarch. It isn't helped by Fabre's effort to build suspense with portentous statements and heavy-handed foreshadowing. (The family lives at Follyfoot Manor, and has a butler named Doomsday.) Edwin observes that ``dealing with Father was a bit like playing Russian roulette.'' Readers may be tempted to pull the trigger rather than waiting to see who wins the game. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1991
Release date: 11/01/1991
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