Kári Gíslason reviews 'Farewell to the Father' by Tim Elliott

One of the claims that is sometimes made for the memoir form is that it gives the author a degree of release from the past. Getting it down on paper can also be about getting it out – perhaps even out of the way. The title of Tim Elliott's memoir, Farewell to the Father, suggests that this may have been the goal here; that Elliott, in telling his story, would be able to farewell a man who, we learn, caused much suffering to both himself and his family. A great strength of this book, though, lies with the less satisfying, but I think more realistic, acceptance that definitive goodbyes of this kind are seldom possible. The past, and the layers of entrapment that may lie there, are much more complex than that.

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