cover image And When Did You Last See Your Father?

And When Did You Last See Your Father?

Blake Morrison. Picador USA, $21 (219pp) ISBN 978-0-312-13023-7

In this moving, eloquent account, Morrison, an English poet and essayist (The Yellow House), reflects on the life and death of his father. A blunt and extroverted physician admired by his patients, Arthur Morrison also delighted in getting something for nothing and often embarrassed his son by sneaking into private tennis and golf clubs. Although he was a family man who loved his wife and children, he conducted a 10-year affair with another woman. As he watches his energetic father grow weaker from the effects of inoperable bowel cancer, Morrison ruminates on the contradictions in his father's character and tries to see him as a person separate from the parent-child relationship. His reminiscence of a rainy camping trip that his father took him on in an effort to become closer to his son is both comedic and heartbreaking. Morrison deals with his grief by eulogizing his father as a human being as flawed as himself but beloved by his son. (June)