A Father's Words

Richard G. Stern, Author Arbor House $14.95 (189p) ISBN 978-0-87795-791-1
Pithy, witty, written in sharply honed prose, Stern's novels (Other Men's Daughters, Natural Shocks are always intelligent and provocative. Here his focus is middle-aged Chicagoan Cy Riemer, publisher of a respected science newsletter, divorced, father of four who are now adults, lover of a woman young enough to be his daughter. In a distinctively cranky but endearing voice, Riemer relates a typical paternal complaint: his children are afflicting him with frustrations and heartaches. His major concern is his bright, charming but feckless son Jack, who seems devoted to a life of downward mobility. Riemer's running disquisition on the anxieties of fatherhood is humorous, philosophic, laced with literary apothegms. There is comic irony in the way he repeatedly sees his children's quests for independence as criticism of their father. Stern has a sharp eye for the nuances of family relationships, and an equal gift for evoking the urban neighborhoods of Chicago and New York. The novel ends in a rush, however, with a truncated quality that is disconcerting. (April 25)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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