OUR FATHER by Thomas Hinde


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Thomas Hinde is too intelligent and undeluded to write a bad book however disjunctive and unpleasant this new one is. Our father who is now in heaven is the recently departed progenitor of Colin and Hugh Burkett. Colin runs a nursing home where the old man--fit or unfit?--wrote his last will disinheriting Hugh who is always in debt and has now come to the end of bleeding the Refuge Trust of a young woman. Hugh, erupting hostilities of all kinds, spends all his time making anonymous phone calls, writing abusive letters and molesting the personnel of the nursing home. His paranoia is reminiscent of although more distasteful than that of the fruit farmer in The Day the Call Came (1965). But the novel suggests on a broader base much more than personal animus and harassment: the disruptions of present-day England are manifest everywhere in demonstrations and agitations and protests of one kind or another (Colin's wife Wilma is seen stewing a shoe for the starving poor of Argentina). Thus one realizes that Hinde is demonstrating far more than that family life is ""a compound of false affection and buried hate."" Still the characters as seen here--""podgy"" or ""phlegmy"" or ""grubby""--reflect the disgust they feel toward each other without the humor of Kingsley Amis at his vilifying worst. How little Hinde concedes to humanity, individually or collectively.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1976
Publisher: Braziller