Patricide By D. Foy

Dang. When it comes to Patricide, “challenging” is an understatement.

One notable excerpt:

His father had made him hate his father so much that he hated the hating in addition to hating himself for that hating, which triple hate hurt three times as much as just hating his father alone…

Like I said, challenging.

Patricide is divided into three sections in the protagonist’s life: childhood, adolescence, adulthood. He lives with his mother, father, and brothers in a seemingly normal family, though various darknesses lurk hidden in corners. His mother abuses him, his father is prone to fits of anger and violence. This is essentially a novel of a boy and his family and how they are, to some degree, at the mercy of each other. Their fears, their addictions, their anger, and later, when the protagonist, Pat, is an adult, how he moves through the world. At its core, it’s a dense novel about identity, growing up, family, the notion of indebtedness to one another, and how events in our lives shape us, often irrevocably.

Unfortunately, it’s also pretty exhausting. A novel made up of almost ceaseless internal dialogue. The first time Pat smokes pot (at the age of ten! A potentially incredible scene!), it takes up roughly fifty pages, yet the majority of the pages are made up of the running monologue inside Pat’s head. If there’s a villain of Patricide, it’s a toss up between his father and Foy’s decision to exchange narrative velocity for sometimes ceaseless, numbing internal examination. Sometimes I just found myself wishing shit would happen without having to read pages of the character’s examinations about it, but Patricide is just not that kind of book. Existential crisis is god here, and we’re all traveling with the author down the messy road of self-awareness.

Like I said, it’s challenging, and ultimately not my type of book. Which isn’t to say it’s not good—Foy can definitely write—but unending examination of internal minutiae, purportedly the very cornerstone of the book, is also its most frustrating element. –Keith Rosson (Stalking Horse Press, 4305 Vuelta Colorada, Santa Fe, NM 87507, stalkinghorsepress.com)