cover image Every Father's Daughter

Every Father's Daughter

Edited by Margaret McMullan. McPherson & Co. (Ingram, dist.), $29.95 (302p) ISBN 978-1-62054-013-8

This anthology is a treasure trove of personal essays exploring the father-daughter relationship%E2%80%94the bitter and the sweet. McMullan (Sources of Light) selected 24 accomplished female writers of varying ages and backgrounds and asked them to recall their fathers; their diverse voices reveal personal experiences with family dynamics and upbringing, tenderness and nurturing, alcoholism and detachment. In her own essay, McMullan writes movingly of her beloved father's last days and their shared love of literature, which inspired this collection. Alexandra Styron recalls growing up with a famous father, a literary star who battled controversy, and whose frequent absences left little time for intimacy. Barbara Shoup's father was "a quiet, desperate drinker," a secret that took a toll on the family. Maxine Hong Kingston writes poetically of "father places" in their home and in the stores and alleys of San Francisco's Chinatown. Jane Smiley's insightful essay references her troubled father's distance from her life as a "gift of absence," allowing her to thrive free of his demands and perspectives about women's "limited capacities." Alice Munro's concluding essay, the "cornerstone" of the anthology, details her Canadian farm life and the family business of raising and killing foxes and selling their pelts. By turns sentimental and dark, McMullan's stunning collection has a wonderful purity. (Apr.)