Reading Noah Hawley's "The Good Father": Or What To Do When Your Son Assassinates a "Good" Presidential Candidate

So right now I’m reading (and reviewing for the Dallas Morning News) Noah Hawley’s new novel, The Good Father (appearing this month in bookstores) which is about a father whose son has assassinated a presidential candidate: The story so far is quite good, but you know this is FictionWorld because the candidate is one the ENTIRE COUNTRY believes is good, and instills in them an idea of Hope. He’s not the Obama kind of hope, obviously, because one of the miracles of Obama’s election (and, I hope, reelection) is that he was able to commandeer so much support from our famously factious nation in which hope seems at best to affect 51% of the electorate at any given time. Only two weeks ago it seemed some important amount (no way 51% I “hope”!) of the population thought nutcase Rick Santorum a viable candidate for president. It seems his recent opinions—anti-sex, anti-education, anti-thought, but pro-God!—have taken the wind out of his sails, but still . . . . That he has won primaries is enough of an embarrassment for our nation, even the fact that we (well, not me, but someone out there, many millions in fact) are taking him seriously. On that note, if you’re curious, check out Tim Egan’s fascinating breakdown of some of the minuscule numbers of votes cast in some of these Republican primaries, here, titled “The Electoral Wasteland,” in the NY Times recently:

Noah Hawley’s novel The Good Father is a bit of a page-turner, with the son’s (alleged) assassination occurring at the outset of the story, which then sets in motion his father’s search for the Truth. That the presidential candidate seems to fit the mode of many presidents in FictionWorld, such as Morgan Freeman in Deep Impact or Bill Pullman in Independence Day, is, I think, a minor quibble. After all, Hawley is also a screenwriter, which entails much broadstroke wishful thinking. In the more realistic mode, Hawley is doing a good job of portraying a parent in those difficult, horrendous circumstances, and leaving his behavior—past and present—up to the reader to judge, whether we think he’s a “good father” or not. Hint: I’m glad I don’t fit his profile of a Dad.

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