Book Review: The Day I Killed My Father, by Mario Sabino

Publisher: Scribe  Publication date: 1st August 2014

The Day I Killed My Father My Review

The Day I Killed My Father Kindle CoverThis is an impressively written if somewhat grim tale of a son’s bleak relationship with his father.

It’s a relatively short account told in two parts. The first part begins with our protagonist narrating his experiences by addressing the reader to offer philosophical explorations as to why he felt compelled to abruptly end his father’s life. As a result, frequent literary and religious references are woven into the text to support his reasoning.

The second part is actually an excerpt of a book he has written, which at intervals he appears to invite us, the readers of said book, to give him honest feedback during sporadic visits to his place of incarceration. Although the conversations are entirely led by our narrator, occasionally he responds directly to the reactions of ‘the reader’ based on the assumed dialogue that is taking place as his book is being discussed.

During these visits the subject of the day he killed his father inevitably crops up. Any justification he offers for his actions is fuelled by psychosis and the lack of empathy his parent expressed toward him. They exchanged few words, zero love, yet a never-ending stream of money flowed into our narrator’s account – and this money was about the only bond they shared.

His emotionally constipated father figure funded his lifestyle in Paris, and this is where he met his drop-dead gorgeous wife. His father said this was the only decent thing he ever did and rewarded him by promptly increasing his allowance.

I can’t say for sure if any discussions in part two were intended to be reality, or if it was merely a projection of the fractured mind of our narrator and I was listening to his one-way conversation. Either way, I felt deeply ‘involved’ in his world, wherever that may be.

And here endeth all I can offer, as this book goes way beyond my limited comprehension for all things deep and meaningful. While this book is intelligent, regrettably I am not. Although it tip-toed into the realm of ‘challenging’ reads for me it still provided a truly fascinating break from the norm, and I’m always grateful for the opportunity to be introduced to an author I’m not familiar with.  It’s quite an unusual tale.

Rating: 3/5

(The kind folks of Scribe Publications ran a giveaway for this book some while ago, so my thanks again to them for plucking my name from the hat to receive a copy.)

The Day I Killed My Father Book Summary

So begins the unforgettable debut of Mario Sabino: a work of suspense, tragedy, and profound reflections on the human soul that marks him as one of Brazil’s most exciting novelists. In charming and chilling prose, Sabino draws the reader directly into the mind of a man who has committed patricide. Readers will hang on every word of this bold and stark book, which calls on complex themes of religion, philosophy, and literature in seeking to understand the nature of evil. Part psychological thriller, part intellectual puzzle, this novel plays on some of humankind’s most profound archetypes and fables, all the while lulling the reader with the brilliance of its voice.

Translated by Alison Entrekin.


The Day I Killed My Fahter Author Profile

Mario Sabino was born in São Paulo in 1962. He is editor-in-chief of Veja, Brazil’s most influential weekly magazine. In 2005 he published O Antinarciso (The Anti-Narcissus), a collection of twelve tales on the theme of loneliness, and it won the Melhor Livro de Contos de 2005 prize (Fundacao Biblioteca Nacional). His new collection of stories The Mouth of Truth was published by Record Brazil in early 2009. His stories have appeared in English in The Drawbridge Magazine and Words Without Borders.


The Portrait, by Willem Jan Otten

Publisher: Scribe | Publication date: 11th September 2014 | Edition: Paperback

If you, like me, come into the world white and completely blank, with nothing on you at all, you are totally dependent on what they make of you…

The Portrait

The Portrait by Willem Jan Otten

A quite remarkable book, which speaks to you from the point of view of the portrait itself, as it waits patiently to be chosen and then painted by the famed artist, Felix Vincent, the ‘Creator’.

The writer successfully animates the portrait from it’s conception as a stark, white canvas, and you follow the journey until the moment it’s due to be signed. He allows it to have emotions, envy for other paintings, to describe the cold wall where it leans, and how it longs to be seen and therefore live. All this time, the portrait shares its experience with the artist, his wife, and what will probably be the most important commission of the Creator’s career.

To me, the portrait’s voice resembles that of a naïve child, inquisitive, then growing to learn exactly how to ‘be’. You may think that sounds like the book/writer is trying to be overly clever. It’s not. Despite one particular path in the book becoming a little dark, the original way in which the story was conveyed made it an absolute joy to read.

This relatively short book will take you by the hand and lead you down a touching and memorable road. Like I say, quite remarkable.

Rating: 4/5

(I must mention my thanks to the publisher, Scribe UK, for running the recent giveaway for this book.)

Follow Scribe Publications on Twitter: @ScribeUKbooks – they have some interesting and unusual titles.