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The Father's Tale: A Novel | by Michael O'Brien

Also available in E-Book format

"A modern retelling of the parables The Good Shepherd and The Prodigal Son."
- Michael O'Brien

Canadian bookseller Alex Graham is a middle-age widower whose quiet life is turned upside down when his college-age son disappears without any explanation or trace of where he has gone. With minimal resources, the father begins a long journey that takes him for the first time away from his safe and orderly world. As he stumbles across the merest thread of a trail, he follows it in blind desperation, and is led step by step on an odyssey that takes him to fascinating places and sometimes to frightening people and perils.

Through the uncertainty and the anguish, the loss and the longing, Graham is pulled into conflicts between nations, as well as the eternal conflict between good and evil. Stretched nearly to the breaking point by the inexplicable suffering he witnesses and experiences, he discovers unexpected sources of strength as he presses onward in the hope of recovering his son--and himself.

"This is a magnum opus in quality as well as quantity.  All of O'Brien's large and human soul is in this book as in none of his shorter ones: father, Catholic, Russophile, Canadian, personalist, artist, storyteller, romantic. There is not one boring or superfluous page. When you finish The Father's Tale you will say of it what Tolkien said of The Lord of the Rings: it has one fault: it is too short. A thousand pages of Michael O'Brien is like a thousand sunrises: who's complaining?"
- Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., Boston College, Author, You Can Understand the Bible

"To enter the domain into which this book takes its readers is to find oneself in the precincts of Holiness, really. Everything is here: suspense, poignancy, darkness, goodness, radiance, courage and  joy. George Macdonald, Charles Williams, Chesterton, Lewis, and, yes, Dostoyevski, have ventured across the borders of this terrain. The scrim that lies between ordinariness and That Which lies beyond ordinariness is pierced. Michael O'Brien's achievement here is, I think, titanic."
-Thomas Howard, Author, Dove Descending: T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets
"The best of Michael O'Brien's novels. He creates characters like Dickens, explores human relationships like Austen, and has the epic scope of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. I believe this novel will merit inclusion in any list of the world's greatest novels."
- Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ

"In this epic tale of the complex and mysterious workings of love, O'Brien takes his readers on a harrowing intercontinental odyssey, offering them an inside view both of brutal torture and mystical transport in which the dark incongruities of divine providence reorder faith and hope so that love becomes fully possible."
- David Lyle Jeffrey, Ph.D.  Distinguished Professor of Literature and the Humanities, Baylor University

Michael O'Brien, born in Ottawa, Canada, in 1948 is a self-taught painter and writer. He has worked as a professional artist since 1970 when he had his first one-man exhibit at a major gallery in Ottawa. The show was nearly sold out in a short time, and has been followed by 40 exhibits across North America during the ensuing 30 years.

Since 1976 he has painted religious imagery exclusively, a field that ranges from liturgical commissions to work reflecting on the meaning of the human person, transcendence and immanence. His paintings hang in churches, monasteries, universities, community collections and private collections in the U.S.A., Canada, England, Australia, and Africa.

The artist is also well known writer on religion and culture. His essays have appeared in several international journals and anthologies concerned with these topics, urging the people of the Western world to examine the negative effects of materialism, and to rediscover authentic spiritual sources in the absolutes of the Christian faith.

Both his written work and visual art have been reviewed and reproduced widely. He is an author of several books, notably his seven volume series of novels published by Ignatius Press of San Francisco. The first volume, Father Elijah, published in 1996, has sold more than 40,000 copies in hardcover, and subsequent novels have also sold well.

In addition, Ignatius Press published A Landscape With Dragons, an examination of the phenomenon of contemporary pagan influence in children's culture. A book of his paintings and meditations, The Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary contains 15 images from the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary. Other titles include The Family and the New Totalitarianism, a collection of essays on the crisis of the family in a secular age, and a children's book, The Small Angel. The video edition of The Small Angel, produced by Anton Casta, is distributed by St. Max Media.

Michael's most recent novel is Theophilos: A Novel, the story of the man to whom St. Luke addressed his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles:

In this fictional narrative, Theophilos is the skeptical but beloved adoptive father of St. Luke. Challenged by the startling account of the "Christos" received in the chronicle from his beloved son Luke and concerned for the newly zealous young man's fate, Theophilos, a Greek physician and an agnostic, embarks on a search for Luke to bring him home. He is gravely concerned about the deadly illusions Luke has succumbed to regarding the incredible stories surrounding Jesus of Nazareth, a man of contradictions who has caused so much controversy throughout the Roman Empire.

Thus begins a long journey that will take Theophilos deep into the war between nations and empires, truth and myth, good and evil, and into unexpected dimensions of his very self. His quest takes the reader into four ancient civilizations - the Greek, Roman, Jewish, and that of Christianity at its birth, where he meets those who knew this man that some believe is the Messiah.
Michael and his wife Sheila have six children. He writes and paints full-time at his home near Combermere, Ontario.

Visit StudioOBrien.com, Michael's personal website, with excerpts, essays, and artwork.

Michael O'Brien books published by Ignatius Press:

Related Interviews and Columns on Ignatius Insight:

The Opening Pages of Island of the World: A Novel | Michael O'Brien

Hell on Earth and the Hope of Heaven | An Interview with Michael D. O'Brien

Novelist of the Last Days | An Interview with Michael O'Brien. An April 2005 interview with Michael about his novel Sophia House.

• Two-part interview with Michael | August 2004. Michael talks with IgnatiusInsight.com about his novel, A Cry of Stone, the work of the novelist, and the role of the arts in the Catholic Church and in the world. Read part one of the interview here and part two here.

"Thought Crime Becomes a Reality in Canada" | An article by Michael from August 2004 about a new Canadian federal hate crimes law that will include speech against sexual orientation.

"Are Christians Intolerant?" | An excerpt from A Landscape with Dragons: The Battle for Your Child’s Mind.

Review of "A Cry of Stone" | From National Catholic Register, July 2004.


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