Thy Father's Glass
by Jeffray Harrison
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Pub Date 09 May 2023 | Archive Date Not set
Dane Schottmer remembers his father, Branson, as hard, mean, and distant. He promised himself and his wife that he would never turn out like his old man. Still, for years, he held on to the hope for reconciliation, or at least an apology for all the abuse he suffered as a child. Those hopes are ruined when Alzheimer’s disease ravages his father’s memory and robs him of his personality, rapidly closing the window of opportunity for the two men to make peace.
Even worse, when Dane’s beloved mother dies, Dane is forced to move into his childhood home and care for the father who never cared for him. As grief and stress consume Dane, his mental health and his marriage suffer—until the home his family has occupied for generations intervenes in a supernatural way. Persistently and provocatively, it invites Dane to see his father for who he really is and to show Dane that he’s more like the old man than he wants to admit.
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Average rating from 2 members
How do you navigate forgiveness for someone who may not even remember what they’ve done? How to we find peace within ourselves when caring for someone who did not always show a caring heart to us?
“Thy Father’s Glass” is a fantastic debut novel by Jeffray Harrison that navigates the familial relationship between Dane and his father Branson who has Alzheimer’s. Branson was a distant, cold, and sometimes abusive father to Dane growing up causing him to harbor complicated feelings for his father whom he now has to care for. Upon staying in his childhood home to care for his father it is discovered that the window in the attic acts as a look into the past, showing both Branson’s childhood as well as Dane’s own childhood.
This was quite a compelling read, the familial connection between the characters could be felt almost immediately. Harrison does a fine job at establishing these relationships quickly for the audience, but without making it feel rushed, so they can feel connected to them as the story unfolds. Dane and his wife Muriel’s intimate connection is built so well and swiftly in the open pages during the funeral for Dane’s mother that the years of marriage between them can be felt in just a few words. With the book coming in at around 150 pages it does a great job pacing and building these relationships so we truly do feel the connection amongst them and allow ourselves to feel for these characters in such a short amount of time.
Harrison really handles the sensitive subject matter of caring for a parent during end-stage Alzheimer’s with such understanding and empathy. Harrison pulls us into this family giving us an almost voyeuristic, play-like view of what is happening, this would in fact make a wonderful play production. Each setting really feels so fleshed out and full, the years lived within the house and the memories that exist there. How each character has a familiarity with their surroundings is structured quite nicely so the story feels truly lived in.
The sprinkling of some magical realism really added a wonderful element to the storytelling, allowing us to look into the past of the childhood of both Branson and Dane and providing us the opportunity to understand the complex nature of relationships between parent and child. Each character within the story feels well-rounded and integral to the story, from Dane’s wife Muriel to Sabine the daytime caretaker of Branson. Each key moment feels wonderfully placed within the story, never lingering too long on one thing or the other. Despite it being a shorter novel it doesn’t feel as if there is much missing. By the end of the book, things feel complete and nicely wrapped up in this fantastic debut novel from Jeffray Harrison.
3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
This was a poignant story of a son who is trying to take care of his ailing father who is battling Alzheimer's and also trying to find forgiveness in a troubled relationship. It was sentimental and meant a lot to me, because I had witnessed this with my mother dealing with both of her parents and Alzheimer's, however I don't know if it would have quite the same impact on those who haven't experienced that before. The story was well written, however there were a few formatting issues, but perhaps that would just the transfer to my Kindle.