FORGIVE THE FATHER: A Memoir of Changing Generations by Howard Wolf

FORGIVE THE FATHER: A Memoir of Changing Generations

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Coming of age and coming to terms. . . . With a little refinement, Wolf might have had something here. He's forthright when it comes to poignance and he doesn't try to trade on the Jewish-son motif--although his immediate heritage controls his early choices: ""I'm pretty sure that Stella is too unbalanced for me, but. . . I want to sail clear of my cumbersome background."" ""Cumbersome"" isn't precise enough, and neither is Wolf's resentment of his father--for being a failure as a dreamer and only a tag-along success in the Garment Center (forsaken for a retirement spent watching stock-quotations on cable-TV). He resents him for his infidelity, too, yet when the old man invokes an erotic memory Wolf can make room for understanding (""now something else is at stake: his ability to cope with the depleted resources of his aging world""). By the end of what often reads like a draft, or an exercise in therapy, Wolf is at home with himself even as a faint but inevitable echo of his father. And as a father in turn, when he has custody. Also changing, meanwhile, are his students at SUNY Buffalo between the Sixties and the Seventies--in the person of one composite radical-turned-monastic. Complete to its experimental shifts in tenses, this one's largely for lingering adolescents.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1978
Publisher: New Republic--dist. by Simon & Schuster