ray-frenchRay French on the difficulties in writing about his father and daughter for Four Fathers

When Tom Palmer asked me if I’d be interested in writing something about my relationship with my father I jumped at the chance. I had written about father/son relationships in several of my short stories and, again, that relationship was at the heart of my first novel. At times I was trying to explore and identify exactly what had gone on between my father and me, at other times I was using fiction to imagine how things might have been if circumstances had been a little different.

He was a very colourful figure, straight out of Craggy Island. My friends at school would not believe the stories I told about him, and would always want to come to the house and check out the evidence for themselves. I, on the other hand, was reluctant to invite them, as every time I did I would be painfully aware of the astonished expressions on their faces, which was usually followed by failed attempts to stifle helpless laughter. There’s something acutely painful about people pissing themselves at your dad’s antics. When they laughed, my dad would simply laugh along with them, thinking it was all great craic, never suspecting for a minute that it was his behaviour that was provoking the hysteria. Jayzus, he was happy fella he’d say after they’d gone, You must invite him again.

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