Vanessa V. Friedman
September 13, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Pagan's Father

Current Status
In Season
Michael Arditti

We gave it a B

Child abuse, recovered memory, and ”traditional values” are such fashionable topics these days, it’s no surprise that they’ve found their way into a novel. When 5-year-old Pagan is orphaned, her mother’s best friend — who happens to be a single gay man — tries to adopt her. But Pagan’s maternal grandparents (whom she has never met) suddenly demand custody, and an ugly court battle ensues. The subtext of Pagan’s Father — that blood is not thicker than love, and that families who choose to be together can be more of a family than families who are stuck together — is not exactly subtle, but the plot machinations are absorbing, and the whole thing moves along at a rate worthy of Hard Copy. In the end, it draws you in with the same kind of disturbing, vicarious seduction. B

You May Like