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O'Hagan hasn't written the greatest first novel ever written, in "Our Fathers." He has, however, written a sublimely adequate novel that should leave readers wondering what the author has in store. For a first novel, "Our Fathers," is, perhaps, technically unsurpassed. It's structure, language, and plot are all expertly presented and well recieved. O'Hagan's fault is in his commitment to his characters, all of whom seem superficially created. His is a great story, well told, with characters in whom we never really trust or believe.
Interestingly, the same could be said of early James Joyce, or even Ernest Hemingway. I would place O'Hagan's potential somewhere between the two of those giants; not quite as intelectually distancing as Joyce, not quite as forceful as Hemingway.
O'Hagan is, no doubt, a gifted writer. This book is fun to read, if only to imagine what it might precede in this genuinely talented writer's career.
Here's hoping he continues...
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