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The Dictator

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From the author of The Bird Factory, a new novel about an estranged father and son forced together under the same roof—one losing his grip on reality and the other discovering a secret past that he may never fully understand.Aaron, unhappy in middle age, must deal with the reverberations of the financial crisis, his increasingly alienatedteenaged daughterand the sudden From the author of The Bird Factory, a new novel about an estranged father and son forced together under the same roof—one losing his grip on reality and the other discovering a secret past that he may never fully understand.Aaron, unhappy in middle age, must deal with the reverberations of the financial crisis, his increasingly alienated teenaged daughter and the sudden care of his father, Karl, a man he hardly knows, who is descending into Alzheimer’s.Karl is a man who has survived by reinventing himself many times over. Blustering, arrogant, he is convinced that the world is intentionally trying to confuse him, not least his good-for-nothing son. Not like his other son, the one he left behind. If only Karl could remember his name, and where he is, Karl would go and find him.With a deft touch and a wonderful ability to show the humorous in the tragic, David Layton has created a novel that explores the relationship between fathers and sons, and how the events of the past translate down through generations. Told from the alternating perspectives of Karl and Aaron, and travelling from present-day Toronto to a postwar settlement of Jewish immigrants in the Dominican Republic, The Dictator is at turns funny, poignant and insightful.


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From the author of The Bird Factory, a new novel about an estranged father and son forced together under the same roof—one losing his grip on reality and the other discovering a secret past that he may never fully understand.Aaron, unhappy in middle age, must deal with the reverberations of the financial crisis, his increasingly alienatedteenaged daughterand the sudden From the author of The Bird Factory, a new novel about an estranged father and son forced together under the same roof—one losing his grip on reality and the other discovering a secret past that he may never fully understand.Aaron, unhappy in middle age, must deal with the reverberations of the financial crisis, his increasingly alienated teenaged daughter and the sudden care of his father, Karl, a man he hardly knows, who is descending into Alzheimer’s.Karl is a man who has survived by reinventing himself many times over. Blustering, arrogant, he is convinced that the world is intentionally trying to confuse him, not least his good-for-nothing son. Not like his other son, the one he left behind. If only Karl could remember his name, and where he is, Karl would go and find him.With a deft touch and a wonderful ability to show the humorous in the tragic, David Layton has created a novel that explores the relationship between fathers and sons, and how the events of the past translate down through generations. Told from the alternating perspectives of Karl and Aaron, and travelling from present-day Toronto to a postwar settlement of Jewish immigrants in the Dominican Republic, The Dictator is at turns funny, poignant and insightful.

31 review for The Dictator

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ruthy

    Unique perspective on the effects of Jewish culture from the Holocaust. Not your typical sad tale, more of a story about the sheer will to survive. Well written and easy to follow, and the conflict will keep you interested as to how the story will resolve. Definitely adding to Reco!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Proserpine

    Not sure what's going on with Goodreads' title--there seems to be a glitch--but I read David Layton's "The Dictator: A Novel" in one sitting because, from beginning to end, it was impossible to put the book down. The story offers insights into the complex and painful themes of parent-child estrangement, family history, connectedness, and how much is ultimately knowable about the lives of the people who are or ought to be closest to us. It's a painful, compelling, compassionate and complex story. Not sure what's going on with Goodreads' title--there seems to be a glitch--but I read David Layton's "The Dictator: A Novel" in one sitting because, from beginning to end, it was impossible to put the book down. The story offers insights into the complex and painful themes of parent-child estrangement, family history, connectedness, and how much is ultimately knowable about the lives of the people who are or ought to be closest to us. It's a painful, compelling, compassionate and complex story. Both thematically and in David Layton's lovely, polished prose, there is much to feast on and mull over in this story.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Shepherd

    Heartfelt and fascinating, the rarely told story of eldercare from the male perspective.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lorna

  5. 5 out of 5

    Allison Turk

  6. 5 out of 5

    Karen

  7. 4 out of 5

    Marta Kolodziejski

  8. 4 out of 5

    Karen Ettinger

  9. 4 out of 5

    John Turner

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ann Behan

  11. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Carter

  12. 4 out of 5

    Harry Monk

  13. 5 out of 5

    Britt-lynn

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Tennant

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

  16. 4 out of 5

    louise jackson

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Taylor

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marcia

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jane

  21. 4 out of 5

    Athina

  22. 4 out of 5

    Adam Sol

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kit

  24. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jared

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brigitte

  27. 4 out of 5

    Austin Mombourquette

  28. 5 out of 5

    Janice

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Paton Smith

  30. 4 out of 5

    Morticia

  31. 4 out of 5

    Sarah T

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