The Dead Father

FSG Classics

Donald Barthelme; Introduction by Donald Antrim

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Trade Paperback

192 Pages



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"There is nothing unusual about the foot except that it is seven meters high." Nineteen people are dragging by means of a cable, an immense carcass through the countryside. The carcass is that of the Dead Father, a half-dead, half-alive, part-mechanical, wise, vain, powerful being who still has hopes for himself, although he is, effectively, dead. Thomas, Julie, Edmund, Emma, and the others variously insult, placate, cater to, and defend the Dead Father as the procession moves through the country of the Wends, the territory of the Great Father Serpent, and a variety of encounters and explorations toward its mysterious goal.

In the austere, extraordinary prose that strongly influenced a generation of fiction writers, Donald Barthelme offered in The Dead Father a glimpse into his unique fictional universe: a many-shaded landscape of first and last things, striking, comic, manic, inevitable.


Praise for The Dead Father

"The funniest and most effective things in The Dead Father are accomplished by language, by the writing itself . . . Essential reading."—Jerome Klinkowitz, The New Republic

"Reading The Dead Father, one has the sense that its author enjoys an almost complete artistic freedom, . . . a permission to reshape, misrepresent, or even ignore the world as we find it . . . Laughing along with its author, we escape anxiety and feel alive."—from the introduction by Donald Antrim

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Donald Barthelme; Introduction by Donald Antrim

  • Donald Barthelme was one of the most influential American novelists of the 1970s and 1980s, bringing a unique postmodern voice to his novels, short stories, and essays. He died in 1989.

  • Donald Antrim Ulrike Schamoni