Cover image for In a father's place
In a father's place
Tilghman, Christopher.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 1990.
On the rivershore -- Loose reins -- Norfolk, 1969 -- Hole in the day -- A gracious rain -- In a father's place -- Mary in the mountains.
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The stories in Christpher Tilghman's collection bring to life the trials and bonds of American families, set against the encroached upon yet still expansive landscapes of the continent. These are stories of amazing maturity and scope by a writer of unforgettable impact.

Author Notes

Writer Christopher Tilghman was born in Boston in 1946 and later graduated from Yale University.

After Tilghman served in the Navy, he took on construction work until he was able to establish himself as a writer.

Tilghman's short stories appeared in The New Yorker magazine and in Best American Short Stories. He also published In a Father's Place, a collection of short stories, and Mason's Retreat, his first novel.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

A talented new voice debuts here in seven short stories that exhibit a mature understanding of human relationships. Tilghman's writing is cool and confident, his perfectly calibrated prose seductively fluent and packed with meaning. ``On the Rivershore,'' told from the point of view of a 12-year-old boy, delivers a series of surprises that jolt and mesmerize the reader. Deftly depicting a generations-old social and economic hierarchy, a distinctive landscape sensuous with colors and odors, and the nuances of character and personality, the tale reveals the stunning aftermath to a murder. This story and two others are set on Maryland's Eastern Shore, which Tilghman describes with the same gifted eye he brings to the evocation of the Western plains in two other tales. The protagonist in ``Loose Reins'' returns to the family ranch where his mother has married the ``beaten, malnourished'' alcoholic farmhand, who unexpectedly gives him a perspective on the past and a way to face the future. The desperate father in ``Hole in the Day'' packs up his four children and follows his intuition in trying to find his runaway wife. The title story is a masterly evocation of ``the bondages of family and place,'' as an aging scion of Maryland gentry strives to preserve his values in an age that has seen the erosion of tradition and civility. Tilghman's insight and empathy infuse his stories with authority and grace. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Tilghman keeps the themes of these seven stories close to the heart and to earth. In ``On the Rivershore,'' a story redolent with the salt air of the Chesapeake Bay tidal flats, a young boy watches his father murder a man and then begins the awful chore of forgiving himself for his helplessness. ``Norfolk 1969'' illuminates the conflicts of a young naval officer torn between his love for his wife and his need to discover his own identity during a turbulent period in history. A dead husband returns to take his place on his front porch, where he can be close to his wife and watch his neighborhood drift into summer in ``A Gracious Rain.'' The themes here are not uncommon--love, family ties, loss, and renewal--but Tilghman manages, often with documentary-like precision, to invest them with new life. A very readable and maturely realized collection.-- Francis Poole, Kentucky Wesleyan Coll., Owensboro (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.