It will come as no surprise that Michael J. Arlen's first novel is at once romantic, disturbing, and original, an artistic achievement of impressive subtlety and force.
A famous father and his estranged son meet for the first time in many years on the father's ranch in New Mexico. Tom Avery, a New York-based journalist on the edge of turning forty, thinks it's time for his new wife, Catherine, to meet his father, a celebrated Hollywood director Sam Avery. At seventy-two, Sam is still full of hell and larger than life--imperious, charming, catankerous, seductive, and dangerous.
When the three come together, father and son seem doomed to increasing and potentially deadly conflict. At the same time, Tom's love for his pretty, somewhat unworldly wife is gradually transmuted by the threat of a strange, erotic triangle involving his father.
The drama is enacted in a stark, real world--eagles soar in the moutnains, a rider is thrown in a treacherous race--but it is also a dream world, the kind that sometimes takes over when men and women are caught up in unexpected feelings. does Catherine, for instance, really abandon Tom for Sam? Or does Tom somehow "offer" his wife as a gift to his unapproachable father? And, for that matter, can Sam ever care about anyone but himself? Say Goodbye to Sam is concerned, in the end, with the dangers of love, and with the bravery required not only in loving someone but in being loved.