Fabricating Fathers, Snoopy Sons

Fabricating Fathers, Snoopy Sons


Ed Bloom has raised his son on life-tales tall and true. Now, Will must reconcile these fiction-riddled memories with who he really was. Below, five other Zola reads in which sons see fathers in a whole new light.

Shit My Dad Says book cover1. Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

“That woman was sexy… Out of your league? Son, let women figure out why they won’t screw you. Don’t do it for them.” After being dumped by his longtime girlfriend, twenty-eight-year-old Justin Halpern finds himself living at home with his seventy-three-year-old dad and recording his hilarious musings. 

My Father the Spy book cover2. My Father the Spy by John H. Richardson

As his father nears death, John H. Richardson begins to unravel a life filled with secrecy: John Sr. was a CIA “chief of station” on some of the hottest assignments of the Cold War. Through the daily happenings at home and his father’s actions, reconstructed from declassified documents as well as extensive interviews with former spies and government officials, Richardson reveals the innermost workings of a family immersed in war—and the deeper war that turns the world of the fathers into the world of the sons.

My Father's Son book cover3. My Father’s Son by Terri Fields

What if your father wasn’t who you thought he was? “I turn up the volume as a woman at a news desk announces, ‘This just in…the alleged DB25 monster has been arrested.’ […] The camera switches [and] I see two cops hustling my handcuffed father into the back of a police car.” Kevin has to face the worst imaginable possibility: that his father may be the man responsible for a series of vicious killings.

Gilead book cover4. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

This National Book Critics Circle and Pulitzer Prize winner takes the form of a letter from a father to his son: towards the end of his life, Reverend John Ames pens an account of himself and his forebears. He writes about the tension between his own father—an ardent pacifist—and his grandfather, whose pistol and bloody shirts may be relics from the fight between the abolitionists and slaveholders. And he tells a story of the sacred bonds between fathers and sons.

My Father More or Less book cover5. My Father More or Less by Jonathan Baumbach

This acclaimed novel, which deals with the confrontation between an aggrieved eighteen-year-old boy and his estranged novelist-turned-screenwriter father, is a continuing exploration of the fiction-making capacities of the imagination.

This article originally appeared on Zola Books.