When Tom was eight years old, his father took a shotgun and shot his family: his wife, his son and baby daughter, before turning the gun on himself. Only Tom survived.
He left his tiny, shocked community on the island of Litta and the strained silence of his Uncle Malcolm’s house while still a young boy. For twenty years he’s tried to escape his past. Until now.
Without knowing how to ask, he needs answers – from his uncle, who should have known. From his neighbours, who think his father a decent man who ‘just snapped’. From the memories that haunt the wild landscape of the Hebrides.
And from the silent ones who know more about what happened – and why – than they have ever dared admit.
By turns gripping, beautiful, devastating and tender, Our Fathers is a story about violence and redemption, control and love. With understated compassion and humour, Rebecca Wait gives a voice to the silenced and to the silences between men of few words.
Oh this was a beautiful, haunting and extraordinarily melancholy novel from Rebecca Wait, I was gripped by the melodic quality of it and by Tom’s story, the sole survivor of a family annihilation who can’t move on and whose whole existence sticks in that one moment.
The island of Litta is a small, contained community where everyone knows everything…yet still they didn’t see the tragedy coming. We open as Tom returns to Litta after 20 years, turning up unexpectedly on his Uncles doorstep, from there Rebecca Wait paints us a picture, of grief, loss and humanity that is at turns painfully gorgeous and at others heart wrenchingly sad.
The setting comes to raw, intense life around this group of characters, hindsight, retrospective, all play a part in unravelling the depths of what was unseen, the author offering up snapshot moments that show the hidden realities.
I loved it. It was sad, yes, also intensely authentic, with a depth of feeling and perception that is hard to describe.