FATHER’S DAY

SYNOPSIS

Matthew Vaber’s life has just taken a turn for the worse. His father has killed himself – a tragedy for which he feels bitterly responsible, when he lets himself feel much of anything about it at all – and his thrilling but damaged mother has taken center stage yet again. Into this cocktail of familial mayhem, Matthew tosses a bubbling new ingredient: the Pump Line, New York’s tawdriest phone sex service, where men appear and disappear at the push of a button.

On the Pump Line, Matthew accomplishes precisely what he can’t manage in life, enacting dramas of desire and connection without the burden of any real connection at all and, in the neatest of psychological tricks, manages to feel both unworthy and uninterested in these telephonic men at the very same time. Father’s Day tracks Matthew’s progress over an extraordinary year of pratfalls and sex and mourning and, quite unexpectedly, something that looks disconcertingly like true love.

Philip Galanes has written a superb comic novel that is, at heart, the story of a son coming to terms with the loss of his father, and a sly and at times exquisitely tender exploration of grief, loneliness, and the depths of childhood shame. In Matthew – wildly antic yet urbane and cannily conspiratorial – Galanes has created one of the freshest and funniest characters to emerge in years, a young man coming to grips with his own vulnerability and pureness of heart through a deliciously funny descent into a cockeyed fantasy of self-annihilation. 

Father’s Day introduces us to a brilliant new writer of immense talent and charm.
PRAISE

"Line by tart line, Galanes gives us a curious and even brave thing: a novel at once comic and heartbreaking.."
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LOS ANGELES TIMES

"[Regarding] fathers and Father's Day: This year it's easy. Buy Dad a copy of Philip Galanes' hilarious and brilliant first novel, Fathers Day."
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THE NEW YORK OBSERVER

"Galanes's rapid-fire prose effortlessly gets us into the head of his love-fixated New Yorker, thanks primarily to his quick and quirky dialogue, which sounds as if it really had been overheard on a phone line."
TIME OUT NEW YORK

"An important and promising new voice in gay fiction."

SAN FRANCISCO BAY TIMES

"Philip Galanes makes his debut with a novel that is both heartbreaking and deftly comic, the story of a young man struggling with his most primitive desires--wanting and needing. It is a novel about the complex relationships between parents and children, a story of loss and of our unrelenting need for acknowledgment, to be seen as who we are. And in the end it is simply a love story for our time."

A.M. HOMES

"An utterly readable tale. . . . Galanes succeeds at painting complicated, tender as well as racy moments of desperation."
HAMPTONS MAGAZINE

"This is not your typical debut novel. . . . Philip Galanes is a powerful writer, and he deserves praise for bucking typical expectations of a first novel."

DALLAS VOICE

"Father's Day is about dealing with loss and grief . . . it will absolutely make its readers want to pick up the phone and call their dads."

THE WEEKLY NEWS

"In Matthew Vaber, Philip Galanes has created a delightful paradox, a character both superficial and profound, casual-sounding yet compulsive, very funny and borderline desperate--in short, a classic human being. As Matthew himself might say, Father's Day is High Noon in loafers."

MARK O'DONNELL

"Father's Day pulls you in every bit as much as the classic 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro.' . . . Galanes's writing is truly a pleasure to read, staccato sentences, finely noted details, and quirky metaphors that are meant to be savored."

EDGE BOSTON

"Philip Galanes has fashioned a novel both bleak and funny about a young man's struggle to sort out his troubled love: the too-strong love for his mother, the too-weak love for his suicidal father, and the all-consuming love of anonymous sexual encounters. Pointed and acute, this story tells of the narrator's many betrayals of others and their many betrayals of him. It exists in an uncomfortable moral space where the humor of terrible things sometimes outweighs, but never obscures, their poignancy."

ANDREW SOLOMON