cover image Fathers: 2memoirs

Fathers: 2memoirs

Jon Winokur, Author, Jon Winokur, Editor Dutton Books $18 (240p) ISBN 978-0-525-93600-8

Despite its well-defined topic, this collection of writings about fathers (some fictional, most factual) is diminished by its scattered treatment. The thoughtful, crafted excellence of certain entries is diminished by the preponderance of flip or elliptical, snippet-length observations, many of them only a sentence or two. Reminiscences about John Wayne at his last Oscar ceremony or about Kurt Vonnegut Sr.'s, architectural career, blighted by the Great Depression, are among the most affecting. Such well-known figures as Woody Guthrie and Nat Cole represent the father as hero, while comments by Lauren Bacall, Alexander Woollcott, Norman Lear and Ken Stabler depict the father as villain. A few of the observations are as poignant as Barbra Streisand's ``I would have liked to have a father,'' but in general, this is a distractingly uneven anthology from the author of The Portable Curmudgeon . (May)