HE, THE FATHER by Frank Miaker
Kirkus Star


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A parable of fathers and sons, this is the story of a man driven to misery and violent death by the weight of an ancient and tribal guilt. Land was wealth in the poor village. In what is now Yugoslavia, from which Osip Prinoevich came to America in the early twenties. The old, owning the land, held the young in unnatural subjugation -- but in the rigid mores of the village, who defied his father, defied God Himself. Therefore, when Osip robs his father to go to America with his wife, Lenka, although a steady job, a house and a son become his, the dream of a vengeful ""black beast"", which in his guilt, hate and love is his father, obsesses him. In his brooding, frenzied search for material security to protect him from his loneliness. Osip loses Lenka as she struggles for independence, and his son whom he is not free to love. Finally Osip, ill and carried in a ""basket"" stretcher, returns to his village -- to his fear-ridden, suspicious brothers and the hatred of the people who remembered his sin. In flashbacks which reveal the peculiar nature of his relationship with his father and in episodes of mounting tension as the rage of the village kindles, the dream fragments are placed together in a terrible montage of reality. Retribution and final punishment come to Osip as the villagers, driven by a frenzy of hatred at the outcast, trample him to death. Although the prose is pedestrian, the story at times shows the work of a serious, creative imagination. Heavy-handed on symbolism, but compelling in emotional scope, this should have both a special and popular market.

Publisher: Harper