The Dead Father (FSG Classics) by Donald Barthelme Donald Antrim Online

The Dead Father (FSG Classics)
Title : The Dead Father (FSG Classics)
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780374529253
Language : English
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 177

The Dead Father is a gargantuan half-dead, half-alive, part mechanical, wise, vain, powerful being who still has hopes for himself--even while he is being dragged by means of a cable toward a mysterious goal. In this extraordinary novel, marked by the imaginative use of language that influenced a generation of fiction writers, Donald Barthelme offered a glimpse into his fiThe Dead Father is a gargantuan half-dead, half-alive, part mechanical, wise, vain, powerful being who still has hopes for himself--even while he is being dragged by means of a cable toward a mysterious goal. In this extraordinary novel, marked by the imaginative use of language that influenced a generation of fiction writers, Donald Barthelme offered a glimpse into his fictional universe. As Donald Antrim writes in his introduction, "Reading The Dead Father, one has the sense that its author enjoys an almost complete artistic freedom . . . a permission to reshape, misrepresent, or even ignore the world as we find it . . . Laughing along with its author, we escape anxiety and feel alive."

The Dead Father (FSG Classics) Reviews

  • Brian

    A live wire of PoMo bliss, The Dead Fatherreads very much like the source for so many books in the genre that have come after. I understand Marcus' The Age of Wire and Stringmuch better and now want to re-read it.Having just finished the memoir Double Down written by Don Barthelme's younger brothers, I was able to clearly divine the influence of the troubled relationship Don had with his father in this work. The Dead Father is a monstrous hilarious ribald construct of a thing, and the characters [...]

  • Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly

    Imagine an alien from a remote, little planet in a galaxy so far, far away. It is a literary genius, and a Nobel Prize for Literature winner in his planet. He hurls into space aboard a spaceship and lands in England where people speak and write English. A few days after hearing and reading English the alien says (in his own language, of course): "I can also write a great novel in English."This book could be the novel such an alien could have written.I have never read anything like it before.It t [...]

  • Tom

    To understand my rating, you need to do some basic math.Most of the book, I thought was a 3-star deal, mainly because I found some of the sections (particularly the long moments when Emma and Julie talked to each other) to be borderline incomprehensible, and while I'm sure Barthelme knew exactly what he was doing, it was one of those situations where I was holding a book in my hands and processing words and then feeling stupid. And maybe I was too dense to understand what was going on, but regar [...]

  • FrancoSantos

    3.5De lo más absurdo y delirante que he leído en mi vida. Diálogos como soliloquios mutilados, oraciones cortas, vacías, y personajes difusos. Barthelme no deja de sorprenderme, aunque prefiero sus relatos.

  • David Beavers

    My favorite work of Barthelme's, and one of my favorite books ever. I'd give it 8 out of 5 stars, but has no HTML code for this. A book for anyone who has a father, who had a father, who had an absent father, who had a father who loved too much or not enough or the right amount; a father who beat them or taught them to ride a bike or both. A book perhaps not for fathers, but a book for fathers who had fathers themselves (and so, a book for fathers).This is the story of a son & his lover, an [...]

  • Rayroy

    Ascending the granite steps of the grand city library, a library sharing space with a museum, fossilized dinosaurs can be seen in the rows of fiction behind the glass walls. Been dead for while. Jill Hill and Thad Dade carry books towards the book return box.What’s that thin sliver book?It’s The Dead Father.The Dead Father, is he a zombie?No just dead but alive.Dead but alive, then he’s a zombie.No, he’s giant.I don’t fallow.You don’t fallow.No.It’s Post Modern. He’s dead in a di [...]

  • Oscar

    Hasta hace poco, nunca hubiese pensado que me iba a convertir en un aficionado a la literatura posmoderna. Hasta hace poco, huía de autores como Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, David Foster Wallace o Donald Barthelme. Requerían de una atención desmedida a la hora de leerlos, y esto no era precisamente lo que buscaba, me interesaban textos más asequibles y de fácil lectura, libros con argumentos e historias, si no lineales o con el clásico planteamiento-nudo-desenlace, sí con una estructura o [...]

  • T

    I don't yet understand how he was able to make this so emotional at the end, how so silly got so serious so fast without ruining the experience. I don't yet understand, but I will bygod. I will.

  • Adam Mills

    The Dead Father is the story of your everyday, average funeral procession for a 200 foot tall father figure who's bloodlust and libido have not been quelled by death. Barthelme comically relates the influence that Greco-Roman and Judao-Christian traditions have had on literature and life in the occidental world The more the narrative tries to free itself of these cosmologies the harder they pull them back into the fold.The protagonists and their entourage painstakingly drag the "dead" father to [...]

  • Andrew

    Plotless postmodern novels, if you believe the hype, aren't supposed to be fun, they're supposed to be think pieces that make you reconsider your epistemological premises, through chilly techniques cribbed from scientific and technical writing, through unconventional word choice, through use of archaisms, slang, high culture, low culture, etc. etc. and you're supposed to come out of the whole thing not necessarily happier, not necessarily entertained, but more aware.Then, why was The Dead Father [...]

  • James Murphy

    I remember reading this twice in the '70s, but I didn't remember much about it. I remember thinking I got it pretty well. Now I'm unsure if my understanding is complete. Because Roland Barthes said the reader is creator of the text I wonder if we're being encouraged here to create because it's so shotgun-patterned that it seems to suggest rather than to mean or define. It's a novel about myth and the hero. The dead father serves as all myth as well as all the cultural weight we've accumulated an [...]

  • Eric

    I've never encountered a prose style that reads so much like poetry. There's a tightness, a smooth imbrication of dialogue and narration. I read it in three or four gulps; the flow carries you on, and one would just as soon stop randomly in this novel as leave a bookmark between the stanzas of a short lyric. And that is what struck me as the stylistic eminence of it all: his idiom and sense of humor, while incredibly elegant and effective, are nothing unfamiliar to readers of Joyce, Beckett and [...]

  • Marc

    Imagine if you will a plate. A rather large plate. In the middle of the large plate a small morsel of postmodern food. More negative space of plate than actual food. You scoff at the food. With a shrug and a roll of the eyes, you take a bite. A hundred flavors, some you recognize, others you do not, some you miss. You eat away, the food disappearing, wondering as you are eating what food is this, what are its textures. When you are finished, you are full but you are not sure why or how it happen [...]

  • Adriana Scarpin

    Espécie de irmão menos bem humorado de Hilda Hilst e onde ambos são filhos de Samuel Beckett, Barthelme nos traz uma história arquetípica cheia de experimentalismo de linguagem, mas que infelizmente não chega à excelência de seus pares.

  • Rita

    He puesto 3 he pensado he puesto cuatroEs una propuesta interesante y arriesgada, pero esperaba másPara mi gusto lector, tiene cosas grandes este libro, muchas, pero pierde parte de su grandeza al intentar condesar demasiado las ideas y sobrepasar el límite de la originalidad A ratos imprescindible, a ratos prescindible. Aun así, recomiendo leerlo porque me encantan las páginas que rompen las normas y estas lo hacen.PD: reconozco que talvez me falta algo de formación en filosofía para acab [...]

  • Mat

    Surreal, hilarious, weird and what Barthelme says about the different types of fathers and sons is very very true! Barthelme successfully weaves up a style redolent of the best moments in Beckett, Joyce and even Borges (with many many lists). He even wrote one chapter in a spin-off style of Finnegans Wake. Very cool. One of the hippest writers who ever lived. Check dis out.

  • August Zishu Wang

    Characteristic of most post-modern literature, the Dead Father has virtually no plot at all. Consequently, this book was extremely hard to get into and the read was somewhat laboured. However, that being said, the 'Manual for Sons' excerpt was amazingly written and somewhat redeems this novel. The last few lines also hit quite hard.

  • anarki

    It is the fate of all of us, perhaps, to directour first hatred and our first murderous wish against our father. —Sigmund FreudI sat and read The Dead Father, a formative work of postmodernist fiction, in three bursts: afternoon, evening, then morning. Finishing the novel left me with cerebral indigestion: I am still deciphering the points of the story (despite knowing it’s meant to be essentially and playfully absurd and ironic—to quote, “To find a lost father: the first problem in find [...]

  • Steve

    Well. That was something.To be clear, there were moments in this book where the narration kind of entered my eyes, passed through the more mundane, yet cavernous, pathways in my brain, and left right out my ears or some other orifice. But then there were the moments that created neuronal connections that didn't even exist before, and that's what makes this piece of post-modern whackiness so special. I have come out the end of these one hundred seventy-seven pages with a slightly different mind, [...]

  • JR Specht

    The Dead Father by Donald Berthelme. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1975.A lively work of postmodernism. Postmodern literature is always difficult to review as it is often the author’s purpose to stray from conventional methods of writing. The Dead Father was not my first experience with Postmodernism. I have read a few other works within the hard-to-define genre, including works by the author that comes up in many searches on the topic: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. I will say that in my small, yet expandin [...]

  • Bob

    Re-read after a 3-year interval while grabbing something quickly on the way out the door - updated review.Mid-70s Barthelme had just the right contemporary counterculture approach to faintly Dada-ist allegory to impress my teenage self mightily. On a subsequent reading in adulthood, it seemed a bit facile, but on what I expect to be the final go-round (ars longa, vita brevis and all that), it returns to 80% satisfactory.The Father in question is mainly He of the Judeo-Christian tradition but wit [...]

  • Kate Savage

    "We want the Dead Father to be dead. We sit with tears in our eyes wanting the Deaf Father to be dead -- meanwhile doing amazing things with our hands."I always appreciate an extended meditation on patricide of the internal papa-super-ego, but by the end I was Barthelmed out. I mean really, how long can a person read non-sequitur dialogue? The most spectacular bit is the Manual for Sons (which is also in his compilation Sixty-six Stories), which includes advice like this:You must become your fat [...]

  • Eric Cartier

    An enjoyable and often very funny novel, tinged with the usual Barthelme melancholy. Clear nods to Beckett, Melville, and Joyce throughout. 23 brief chapters with a 23-chapter insert, A Manual For Sons, plus wordplay, lists, diagrams, and drawings. Not a book I'd leap to read again soon, but I'm happy to have it on my shelf. Some lines and banter I like are below.* * * * *e embarrassment of sending away those I didn't want, the pain of sending away those I did want, out into the lifestream of th [...]

  • Toolshed

    I always thought that I liked post-modern books. But if it means I should be shuddering in ecstasy while reading books similar to this one, then I would rather not read at all, I guess. Generally, I don´t have a problem with complicated books; quite the contrary, I guess. But I do have a problem with works which have the factor of "complexity" in their very center and everything else is just revolving around it. That is what it seemed to me like in this very case. I find Barthelme´s writing me [...]

  • Chrissy

    A wonderful, frolicking, clever, realistic, fantastical little work of allegorical fiction. As with the best kind of fiction, this not-really-a-novel-but-technically-still-a-novel speaks to almost every aspect of the human condition in a tone at once contemporary and timeless. It tells the tale of a reluctant journey from life to death, a hesitant transfer of fatherhood from the father to the son who will never truly be the father. Barthelme hits every note just so, commenting in perfect pitch o [...]

  • Danielle

    Barthelme at his best! The Dead Father is a fabulous work of fiction rich in irony and humor seasoned by the stray poignant moment. I suppose it's blatantly "postmodern" -- by golly, what better time to write a postmodern work than the 1970s? Of course, if you're not a fan of consciously postmodern writing, you might not enjoy the work. It's not going to honor the dead, that's for certain - Barthelme is excellent at vilifying most paradigms, so he's liable to upset certain folks. Take this on if [...]

  • Sarah

    So experimental that it was irritating. And so metaphorical that I couldn't even figure out what it meant. I had to google Dead Father and ran into the hypotheses that the dead father is God. I guess that makes sense because the characters vacillate between mocking and praising him. And the whole "God is dead" thing. This book makes me wonder if some authors just write to see what they can get away with.On a positive note, I did think that the mini-book toward the end of the novel was more inter [...]

  • Vit Babenco

    Time passes and humankind keeps hauling a corpse of dead traditions, customs, beliefs, misconceptions and rituals along the trail of history“You are killing me. We? Not we. Not in any sense, we. Processes are killing you, not we. Inexorable processes.” Even if some dogmas and tenets are discarded in the process of the constant progress they don't let us go and we keep carrying this burden of the past on our backs.

  • Deanne

    Strange short book, a group of people are pulling the Dead Father by a cable through the land, who knows where. For a dead father he's surprisingly vocal and has a habit of running off.There's also a smaller book on fathers, have to admit that it was fun but a head scratcher too.

  • Maya Rock

    This worked for me if I just judged it sentence by sentence. There was some interesting vocabulary. But it did not work in terms of characterizaton, plot. It was pretty funny when Mother showed up. There were other funny parts too, which helped, but overall a laborious reading experience.