The publication in 1990 of In a Father’s Place marked the emergence of a strong and resonant new voice in American Fiction. The seven stories in this collection bring to life the trials and bonds of American families, set upon the encroached-upon but still-expansive landscapes of the continent. In “On the Rivershore,” a young boy witnesses a murder among the watermen on the Chesapeake Bay. “Loose Reins” takes place in Montana, where a young man and his wife have returned to make sense of his mother’s marriage to a former ranch hand. In “Hole in the Day,” a husband crisscrosses the west in search of his wife. And in the title story, an aging scion of an old Eastern Shore family, the keeper of his ancestral house, muses on his children’s rocky attempts – and his own – to ride the choppy waters of contemporary life.
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“Radiant. . . a gifted writer, blessed with an instinctual feel for the emotional transactions that make up family life.” – Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“A wonderful surprise. . . a beautiful book, making emotions as vivid and rich as a loved landscape.” – John Casey, The New York Times Book Review
“The [short stories] have a simple, classical feel, as if written from deep in the American grain. . . It’s a magnificent portrait. . . . The debut of the year.” – Matthew Gilbert, The Boston Globe
“Tilghman is a writer who does not duck issues or short-change his reader. Each of the seven stories in his impressive first collection . . . works like a novel in miniature. . . . In a Father’s Place leaves me impatient to see what he will write next.” – Robert Towers, The New York Review of Books
“An accomplished and distinguished collection – one of the best, I’d say, since the heyday of Flannery O’Connor.” – Bruce Allen, USA Today
“Should you doubt the existence of an American Chekhov at the moment, these stories about the ordinary are as satisfyingly unmannered as they are beautifully written.” – Irish Times