All Her Father’s Guns Synopsis
Cal Lyte, a gun-loving venture capitalist, is tired of paying alimony to his ex-wife Tabytha. Plotting to blackmail her and derail her campaign for Congress, he enlists the help of their daughter’s boyfriend, British academic Reid Seyton, to unearth some Lyte family secrets. But the results turn out to be more than anyone bargained for, in an escalating cycle of revelations that will leave nobody’s life the same. (Amazon)
James Warner captured my attention from the word go with this opener:
I was playing footsie under the restaurant table with my girlfriend Lyllyan, while her father, Cal, tried to persuade me all kindergarteners should be trained in the use of handguns. Do Americans talk so loudly because they’re afraid God can’t hear them?
I quite enjoy a controversial slant on things and James Warner has filled All Her Father’s Guns, his debut novel, to bursting point with caricatures of stereotypes we all love to hate. Some reviewers have suggested Warner tried to cover too much ground in this one slim novel, but in my opinion, while he certainly pushed the envelope, it still worked for me. Warner’s very dry and dark wit keeps this story moving along at a cracking pace.
In All Her Father’s Guns James Warner shines the spotlight on the farcical and the absurd that goes unquestioned by the majority in society today.
Although littered with laugh-out-loud moments, do not for a minute think this novel is shallow. Each page of this 190 page novel is bursting with value for the observant and thoughtful reader.
“How’s Viorela?” I asked him now.
“She isn’t a churchgoer yet,’ he said, ‘but I’m working on her. She’s scared of babies. She flinches when we pass a stroller. What’s with that?”
He’d really fallen for her, like some gosling imprinted on a Nazi ethnologist. The saddest part was that, like many people who claim to defy authority, Cal was really only awaiting an authority that would prove irresistible.
Powerful men are often masochists. Is a leader merely someone so desperate to believe in something that he succeeds in transmitting his delusion to others?
In addition to Warner’s keen eye for observation and critical thought, what I most admired about his writing was his ability to lead his audience to sympathise with those whose actions and beliefs one would ordinarily find repulsive. In All Her Father’s Guns we are reminded there is the potential for goodness (relatively speaking) in everyone; that often there is more behind a cheap facade. But conversely, there are times when we delude ourselves and look too hard for a deeper meaning, often in a vain attempt to justify our own actions. In the end, we alone will be our own judge and jury.
If you’re looking for something a bit different and a thought provoking read, try All Her Father’s Guns. James Warner is definitely an author to watch.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5
Genre: Drama, Humour, Action-Adventure
Author Information: James Warner comes from England and now lives in San Francisco. His short fiction has appeared in many literary magazines. All Her Father’s Guns is his debut novel. Check out his website: www.jameswarner.net.
- Read a great interview with James Warner at The Literate Man book blog
* I received this paperback copy from the author for review purposes. My receiving this title at no cost did not impact my ability to express my honest opinions about it.