A Good Father by Catherine Talbot

The breakdown of a man and his marriage


Harrowing but utterly compelling, this story takes us into the mind and motivations of Des, the good father of the title, as he grapples with his conflicted emotions about his life and family of wife and three young children.

He provides for them, cares for them and loves them, yet as he looks back to the beginnings of his relationship with his wife, we see his darker side emerge in bouts of violence, vindictiveness and jealousy.

Now he is afraid he is going to lose his children to another man – does he love them enough to let them go, or will he cling to them at all costs?

From the very beginning, we know what Des is contemplating – whether or not he will follow through his dark plan to kill his wife and children, and what brought him to this pass, makes for rivetting reading.

The thing I admired most about this story was the way the author skilfully brought Des to life in all his pitiful self-delusion – he is not in any way a sympathetic character, and yet the insight we get into his character and emotions helps us understand – though never excuse – just why he behaves as he does.

Bleak as it is, Des’s story offers contrasts between light and dark, between romance and the disintegration of love, between the mundane reality and the happy highlights of day-to-day life.

As the examination of the breakdown of a man and his marriage, it’s a masterpiece.

A Good Father is published by Penguin and is available now, RRP 12.99,
and as an e-book RRP £7.99


About the Author

Follow Catherine Talbot on Twitter @caittalbot

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