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SURROGATE DADS: INTERROGATING FATHERHOOD IN WILL SELF’S THE BOOK OF DAVE

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Chapter Summary

Will Self’s sixth novel, The Book of Dave (2006) develops the British writer’s ongoing interest in fathers and children, and fatherhood as a key nexus where masculinity and patriarchy are reproduced. The novel channels and critiques various types of narrative, including the “dad lit” genre, best represented by the popular novels of Nick Hornby and Tony Parsons, the post-apocalyptic and dystopian idiolect science fiction tradition of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange and Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker, and social phenomena such as “new” fatherhood and the “fathers’ rights” movement. With wit, insight, anger, and compassion, Self’s novel engages and interrogates matters of paternity, patriarchy, power, the religions of the father, the malaise of millennial British working-class masculinities, and the question of what it might mean to be a post-patriarchal dad.

10.1163/9789004299009_014
/content/books/b9789004299009s014
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