Chestertown, MD, October 3, 2002 — Robert Mooney, Director of the Creative Writing Program at Washington College, will debut his new novel Father of the Man (Pantheon Books, 2002) in a public reading on Thursday, October 24, 2002, at 4:30 p.m. in the College's Hynson Lounge. A book signing and reception will follow. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
The October 24 reading begins a seven-city book tour for the release of Father of the Man. For the complete list of times and locations for readings and booksignings, click here. Father of the Man is a multi-layered novel about the love between a father and son, husband and wife, mother and child, and the living and the dead. The novel is set in post-Vietnam America, in a closely-knit community of Irish-Americans in Binghamton, NY. Bus driver Dutch Potter, a proud WWII veteran, who has spent 12 years caught between despair and hope, waiting for news of his son Jom who has been MIA in Vietnam. After a violent argument at home over his role in his son's enlistment, Dutch is driven to a last desperate act, taking hostage the passengers on his bus route in an armed standoff with federal authorities to force an answer from the government about his son's fate. It is during this standoff that the plot brings an unexpected answer to Jom's postwar fate. Father of the Man has been called “an affecting, eccentric, poignantly realistic novel about a lost man's hopeless and tragic attempt to erase or at least recover his past,” by award-winning fiction writer Ron Hansen. Novelist Larry Woiwode observes that “very few novels reach, in the way Mooney's does, for understanding and reconciliation between generations—specifically the gap that widened over the war in Vietnam.”
A nominee for the Pushcart Prize and author of numerous published works of short fiction, Mooney began his writing apprenticeship in 1979, while living in Oregon. Realizing he needed more guidance to develop his writing, he returned to his home state of New York to apprentice with novelist John Gardner who taught creative writing at the State University of New York-Binghamton. He worked a year-and-a-half with Gardner before his death in 1982. After receiving his Master of Arts in 1983, Mooney taught as an adjunct faculty member at SUNY-Binghamton and took workshops with novelist Larry Woiwoode, who succeeded Gardner. After Woiwode left SUNY-Binghamton, Mooney became director of the creative writing program where he continued until 1997, when he moved to Chestertown to direct Washington College's Creative Writing Program.