From the award-winning creator of the TV show Fargo and author of the bestseller Before the Fall, an intense, psychological novel about one doctor's suspense-filled quest to unlock the mind of a suspected political assassin: his twenty-year old son.
As the Chief of Rheumatology at Columbia Presbyterian, Dr. Paul Allen's specialty is diagnosing patients with conflicting symptoms, patients other doctors have given up on. He lives a contented life in Westport with his second wife and their twin sons—hard won after a failed marriage earlier in his career that produced a son named Daniel. In the harrowing opening scene of this provocative and affecting novel, Dr. Allen is home with his family when a televised news report announces that the Democratic candidate for president has been shot at a rally, and Daniel is caught on video as the assassin.
Daniel Allen has always been a good kid—a decent student, popular—but, as a child of divorce, used to shuttling back and forth between parents, he is also something of a drifter. Which may be why, at the age of nineteen, he quietly drops out of Vassar and begins an aimless journey across the United States, during which he sheds his former skin and eventually even changes his name to Carter Allen Cash.
Told alternately from the point of view of the guilt-ridden, determined father and his meandering, ruminative son, The Good Father is a powerfully emotional page-turner that keeps one guessing until the very end. This is an absorbing and honest novel about the responsibilities—and limitations—of being a parent and our capacity to provide our children with unconditional love in the face of an unthinkable situation.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
When Dr. Paul Allen—a successful Manhattan rheumatologist—learns from a TV newsflash that his 20-year-old son is accused of assassinating the favoured U.S. presidential candidate, denial eventually gives way to a desperate attempt to make sense of this shocking turn of events. Noah Hawley’s gripping psychological novel taps into a parent’s worst fear: losing touch with—and control over—your child. A fascinating read, The Good Father tracks a decent man’s heartbreak while also evoking the true stories of infamous American gunmen.
The father of a man who assassinates a presidential candidate tries to make sense of his son's crime in Hawley's gripping new novel. Dr. Paul Allen is a successful rheumatologist happily living with his second wife and their twin sons in a chic Connecticut enclave. Contact with Daniel, his aloof son from a previous marriage, is sporadic, and when Daniel drops out of Vassar in his first year to "see the country," Dr. Allen shrugs it off as a youthful foible; he believes that shuffling between parents turned the boy into a "teenage gypsy." Dr. Allen had seen him only once since then, a year ago in an Arizona coffee shop, so the Secret Service agents who appear at his door are a great surprise. Daniel, aka Carter Allen Cash, has shot and killed the Democratic presidential front-runner one warm June evening at a rally in downtown Los Angeles (not far from where Robert Kennedy was shot in 1968). Despite the overwhelming evidence against Daniel, Dr. Allen won't believe that his son is guilty (he remembers his son as a member of Greenpeace and a liberal Democrat) and becomes convinced of a conspiracy involving a second man. His myopic attention to every detail of his son's case, and to the cases of other famous assassins, puts everything he's worked for both professionally and personally at risk. With great skill, Hawley (The Punch) renders Dr. Allen's treacherous emotional geography, from his shock and guilt to his growing sense that he knows far less about his son than he thought. Initially privileged and priggish, Dr. Allen is humanized by his attempts to piece together the missing months of Daniel's life; although not a good father in a conventional sense, Hawley's complicated protagonist is a fully fathomed and beautifully realized character whose emotional growth never slows a narrative that races toward a satisfying and touching conclusion.
Interesting but no surprises
This book had an interesting storyline. But I kept waiting for the answer and it never came. I skimmed over some of the parts about other assassins and terrorists. Kind of got the idea that they were just fillers to stretch out the story. I’m a little disappointed.
Fabulous psychological thriller
Loved this book from beginning to end. The foray into the mind of the shooter and his father makes you think about this book for a long time after you finish reading it.
The Good Father
This is an excellent book. I felt like I had been down this road with this parent. It is a difficult road to travel. We cannot believe our child could make the choices she did. How do you reconcile loving a your child with acceptance that he or she is a criminal? The pain is well described in this book.