Caleb J. Ross' booklikes

The official booklikes blog of author Caleb J. Ross.

My Father's House

My Father's House - Ben Tanzer (this review originally appeared at Outsider Writers Collective)Ben Tanzer, in his sixth book, takes the inherent heartache associated with a cancer struggle and redirects the focus from the sick (a father) to the coping (the son). In this seemingly simple but extremely important reversal Tanzer has crafted a book that simultaneously represents a perfect extension of his own canon while tapping into a previously unexplored sense of extended vulnerability.Tanzer’s use of monologue to extract emotion from his characters is daring and impressive. Such direct address, in the hands of lesser authors, would likely compromise any organically built emotional connection. But for Tanzer, hearts are best worn on sleeves:“I am not here to admire myself though. I am on a mission. I am studying my reflection, compulsively searching for ingrown hairs and exploring the day-old unshaven whiskers that populate my neck and face. I’m not sure when this started, but I know the drill, and I know I’ve grown more desperate about it since my father got sick” (pg. 65).Previous books have lead readers through quick-witted, twenty-something pop culture (Most Likely You’ll Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine) and mid-life extramarital temptation (You Can Make Him Like You). With My Father’s House we experience the established character type tackling, perhaps for the first time, the idea of death and the necessity of legacy.My Father’s House could quite possibly be Ben Tanzer’s greatest work.