‘Ammu loved her children (of course), but their wide-eyed vulnerability, and their willingness to love people who didn’t really love them, exasperated her and sometimes made her want to hurt them – just as an education, a protection.
It was as though the window through which their father disappeared had been kept open for anyone to walk in and be welcomed.’

– Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

Ocean, don’t be afraid.
The end of the road is so far ahead
it is already behind us.
Don’t worry. Your father is only your father
until one of you forgets. Like how the spine
won’t remember its wings
no matter how many times our knees
kiss the pavement. Ocean,
are you listening? The most beautiful part
of your body is wherever
your mother’s shadow falls.

– Ocean Vuong, extract from Someday I’ll Love Ocean Vuong

 

‘John’s heart was hardened against the Lord. His father was God’s minister, the ambassador of the King of Heaven, and John could not bow before the throne of grace without first kneeling to his father.’

― James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain

‘You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.’

– John 8:44, NIV Bible

‘He would have liked to be alone, to commune with this feeling. But time was short, and always there was the sight of Shama and the children, alien growths, alien affections, which fed on him and called him away from that part of him which yet remained purely himself, that part which had for long been submerged and was now to disappear.’

– V.S Naipaul, A House for Mr Biswas

 

“What does it feel like to have a girl?” said the man, chewing. Her father wiped his mouth with his napkin, tilted his head to one side and said smiling: “Sometimes it feels like I have a warm egg in my hand. Sometimes, nothing: total memory loss…Occasionally it feels like I have a girl of my own, really mine.”

– Clarice Lispector, Near to the Wild Heart

‘Like bro I can’t believe I saw my dad
Still up in the ends, still driving cabs
He said “Yo son, I need a car”
I kissed my teeth and turned my back.’

– Stormzy, Lay Me Bare

‘Shine, Jesus, shine
Fill this land with the Father’s glory
Blaze, Spirit, blaze
Set our hearts on fire’

– Graham Kendrick, Shine Jesus Shine (Lord, the light of your love is shining)

‘Baldwin’s career as a novelist was spent walking over old territory with ghosts. Things became new to him this way. ‘Mountain is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else,’ he said years later. ‘I had to deal with what hurt me most. I had to deal with my father.’

– Andrew O’Hagan, Introduction to Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin