Just Let Me Look at You: On Fatherhood

Category: Book
By (author): Gaston, Bill
  FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS / Death, Grief, Bereavement
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Published: May 2018
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 272
Size: 8.25in x 5.62in
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Additional Notes

From The Publisher*From a Giller-nominated, multiple award-winner, here is a tender, wry and unforgettable memoir of all the things fathers and sons fail to say to each other, for readers of Plum Johnson's They Left Us Everything, David Adams Richards's Lines on the Water, and Helen Macdonald's H is for Hawk.

Bill Gaston's relationship with his father was stormy. Sons clash with fathers, particularly with towering, authoritarian figures like Gaston Senior. Fairly or unfairly, sons look for reasons to rebel, particularly against boring suburban fathers who seem to prize conformity above all else. And fairly or unfairly, sons judge their fathers when they can't handle their booze.
     But even a father and son as doomed to clash as Gaston and his father could fish together. When they were shoulder-to-shoulder, joined in shared anticipation and common purpose, gazing at the waves of the Pacific Ocean, they were no longer betrayed by their differences. When Gaston's father dies, this is the memory of his father that he keeps alive.
     In the years that follow, however, he learns more about his father's realtionship with his father. It too was marked by heavy drinking, though it took a much darker turn.
     What Gaston comes to realize is that the man his younger self had been so eager to judge was in fact capable of near-heroic feats of self-mastery. And as a father of grown sons himself, he acutely feels the wounds he must have inflicted years before by withholding so much he now knows that fathers long for.
     Returning to the past, Gaston goes back to those times in the boat, and comes to understand his own story anew as he sees his father in a new light.
     Warm, often funny, and alive to all the ways in which the words for love so often come too late, Just Let Me Look at You captures a father's inexpressible tenderness for a child and the longing he feels when that child becomes a man.
Biographical NoteBILL GASTON is the author of seven novels and six collections of short fiction. He teaches at the University of Victoria and is the winner of numerous awards, including the 2003 inaugural Timothy Findley Lifetime Achievement Award and the CBC/Canadian Literary Award. Mount Appetite, one of his collections of short stories, was shortlisted for the 2002 Giller Prize, and another, Gargoyles, was shortlisted for the 2006 Governor General's Award for Fiction. His most recent novel, The World, won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. He lives in Victoria, BC.