Farewell to the Father

Farewell to the Father

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'Towards the end of his first serious suicide attempts, my father said the strangest thing to me...'

Growing up in 1970s Sydney, Tim Elliott had a loving stay-at-home mum, a professional father, three siblings, a private school education and endless opportunities to fish and surf at the nearby beaches.

But this was not the idyllic childhood it appeared. A charismatic, well-respected doctor by day, Tim's father became a roaring madman at night.

The house was our castle, and Dad was our king. He was an unpredictable king, tyrannous and moody, lethal one day, loving the next.

This is an extraordinary memoir of growing up with a parent afflicted by mental illness: a complex elegy, powerfully told, loaded with love, rage and surprising humour. It is about the lengths children will go to protect themselves - and their families - from shame or harm, and how adapting to that adversity becomes an intractable part of who we are as adults.