Fathers in Writing
Tuart House (UWAP) $29.95pb, 288pp
I am still puzzling over why Ross Fitzgerald and Ken Spillman chose the odd title, Fathers in Writing, for this anthology of personal essays. Because of its academic resonance, I first assumed that this book would be a scholarly analysis of father figures in literature – or, perhaps, following on from the work of certain feminist theorists, that it would look at how different valorisations of ‘fatherhood’ are embedded in language itself. Then, once I learned that this was an anthology of Australian writing, the title led me to expect a collection of extracts from literature previously published. Or, if these were newly commissioned essays, that they would be pieces in which the difficulties and pleasures of the act of writing itself would take centre stage.