If I was to sum this book up in one sentence it would be, To a large extent, for good or bad, we are a product of our upbringing.
William and Dermont are two close friends who plan and plot and ultimately live their lives through their two sons, Oliver and Rory.
William is a man who lived a hardscrabble life but pulled himself up by his bootstaps to become a successful novelist. He determines to never let his son lack a thing. He must have everything money can buy and become an even greater man than his father.
Dermont is a frustrated Irish radical but with marriage, a growing family, and a booming carpentry business tying his hands, he must pass his political fervor onto the next generation. His son will right the wrongs he himself could only dream about ..
Well, be careful what you wish for.
"My Son, My Son" is a saga spanning about 35 years. WW1 will arrive when the two sons become of age, with consequences that rock both families to the core. And brooding for decades, the Irish rebellion finally reaches a crescendo with Bloody Sunday and catapults Ireland into confusion, mayhem and terror.
This is my first Howard Spring book and I found him immensely readable. I would compare his style as a cross between Diane Pearson and Warwick Deeping. The male protagonist here is not particularly likeable but at the same time is very human and so its hard to look away. The last 100 pages are unputdownable.
Recommended for adult readers who like chunky family sagas from the turn of the century.
SEX: One steamy scene which eventually fades to black but takes a while in doing so (two pages). Surprising for a book written in the 1930s
VIOLENCE: Some wartime fighting. Nothing very graphic but people do die.
PROFANITY: Fairly liberal sprinkling of D's, B's and religious cussing.
This would have been 5 stars for me except for 1) some unlikable people were main characters and 2) major foreshadowing in the narrative that ammounted to spoilers. I really dislike that.
But it is so completely engrossing that 4 stars seems almost stingy...