First published in 1981 to wide acclaim, a haunting family novel by ’a daringly skillful writer.’ (Philip Roth)
Foreword by Mary Gordon
First published in 1981 to wide acclaim, The Country follows the last visits of a son, Daniel Francoeur, to his parents’ home before the death of his father. Wanting to understand this enigmatic man, Daniel seeks insight through the particulars of his father’s life—handling his father’s tools and tending to his father’s feeble body. Through this contact, his father’s mysteries are revealed: his Native-American heritage, his lifelong work as a toolmaker, and his deep and conflicted relationships with his invalid wife and his seven sons.
Written quietly, with great force, The Country illuminates the ties of family, the relationships between fathers and sons, and the love that is often hidden, but ever present.
“There is grief and pain in The Country, and it is not the elegiac kind, but the haunting one . . . and it helps [Mr. Plante] to make, out of his own understanding, a book that belies its slenderness. A great reckoning in a little room.”
—Bernard Levin, Sunday Times (London)
“The Country is a haunting lament, a controlled cry of loss and knowledge won through language, sorrow, memory, impossible and comprehending love, love learned through childhood in the body of the family, the country.”
—Mary Gordon, New York Times Book Review
“Mr. Plante’s understanding of the complicated, often perverse configurations that familial relationships can form remains unerring. By mapping out the ways in which beliefs, resentments and hopes are handed down, generation to generation, the ways in which love can mutate into hatred, neediness into rebellion, he creates a portrait of a family that is as uncompromising as it is moving.”
—Michiko Kakutani, New York Times Book Review
“Plante has created one of the most harrowing of contemporary novels.”