Category Archives: Fathers


Having written a novel, The Master, based on several years in the life of Henry James, Colm Tóibín has now written a book based on the life of Thomas Mann, the German writer. The Magician takes its title from the name Mann’s children gave him, for his love of doing magic tricks to amuse small children.  Being the Mann family, though, it wasn’t an altogether affectionate term; there was some element of denigration about it. Never was there a family with so much rivalry. Brother against brother, sister against brother, child against father. So the name The Magician, has elements of ‘You think you are a magician, above all the rest of us, but we know what you really are.’ Continue reading COLM TÓIBÍN -THE MAGICIAN

Rebecca Stott – In the Days of Rain, Kim Barnes – Hungry for the World:A Memoir

The Gert’s father was a very quiet man. He was either absent for months on expeditions or else sat reading books in foreign languages, occasionally growling in his throat if any of the subject matter went against his beliefs. Sometimes our mother said to us accusingly, ‘You know, your father’s a genius.’ Meaning what? ‘You don’t appreciate him?’ ‘You’ll never be as clever as he is, especially if you don’t do your homework?’ We would have loved his approval, but as we were all hopeless at Maths, there was no hope of that. Continue reading Rebecca Stott – In the Days of Rain, Kim Barnes – Hungry for the World:A Memoir

Buddha Da – Anne Donovan

Buddha Da (Canons) by [Donovan, Anne]


This is the story of Anne Marie’s Da, the painter Jimmy, and his involvement with Buddhism. The story is told in the voices of Anne Marie, almost twelve years old, Liz her mother and Jimmy’s wife, and Jimmy, the Glaswegian painter, ‘ma Da,’ who becomes more and more drawn to the practice of meditation. This obviously throws up conflicts within the family and among Jimmy’s friends and colleagues. A good idea to examine the practice of Buddhism through the eyes of a fairly uneducated working class man? Well, yes, but there is just one snag. Continue reading Buddha Da – Anne Donovan

The Secret Orchard of Roger Ackerley by Diana Petre

Roger Ackerley died in 1929. At his funeral, the obituary in The Times states, ‘Nearly a thousand business men from all over the British Isles as well as from the Continent attended the funeral at Richmond Cemetery yesterday, and the wreaths were so numerous that four men were especially engaged to load and unload them.’

Continue reading The Secret Orchard of Roger Ackerley by Diana Petre