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At the age of thirty-five, Matthew Vaber’s life is so messy it can only be at a turning point. In one direction is the neon glare of his father’s recent suicide, and in the other is the tough love of his fluorescent mother. He’d love to find love, but he can’t make it twenty minutes into a first date without spotting that fatal flaw. In spite of Matthew’s better intentions, he always finds himself back at the same old place: 555-PUMP, “New York’s only phone line for men who are serious about their bodies!” Eventually, even Matthew realizes the long odds of making a love connection on a sex line, but then the pound sign connects him to Henry. Much to his dismay, Matthew can’t find a single problem with him. In fact, Henry may be just the one to lead Matthew past his recent tragedies and childhood traumas. If Matthew lets himself follow, that is. Philip Galanes’s dynamic wit and idiosyncratic charm make Father’s Day a compassionate, heart-melting story and a delightful debut.
“Line by tart line, Galanes gives us a curious and even brave thing: a novel at once comic and heartbreaking.” –Los Angeles Times
“Galanes’s rapid-fire prose effortlessly gets us into the head of his love-fixated New Yorker, thanks primarily to his quick and quirky dialogue, which sounds as if it really had been overheard on a phone line.” –Time Out New York
“An important and promising new voice in gay fiction.” –San Francisco Bay Times
“Philip Galanes makes his debut with a novel that is both heartbreaking and deftly comic, the story of a young man struggling with his most primitive desires—wanting and needing. It is a novel about the complex relationships between parents and children, a story of loss and of our unrelenting need for acknowledgment, to be seen as who we are. And in the end it is simply a love story for our time.” –A. M. Homes
“An utterly readable tale. . . . Galanes succeeds at painting complicated, tender as well as racy moments of desperation.” –Hamptons Magazine
“This is not your typical debut novel. . . . Philip Galanes is a powerful writer, and he deserves praise for bucking typical expectations of a first novel.” –Dallas Voice
“In Matthew Vaber, Philip Galanes has created a delightful paradox, a character both superficial and profound, casual-sounding yet compulsive, very funny and borderline desperate—in short, a classic human being. As Matthew himself might say, Father's Day is High Noon in loafers.” –Mark O'Donnell
“Father’s Day pulls you in every bit as much as the classic ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro.’ . . . Galanes’s writing is truly a pleasure to read, staccato sentences, finely noted details, and quirky metaphors that are meant to be savored.” –EDGE Boston
“Philip Galanes has fashioned a novel both bleak and funny about a young man's struggle to sort out his troubled love: the too-strong love for his mother, the too-weak love for his suicidal father, and the all-consuming love of anonymous sexual encounters. Pointed and acute, this story tells of the narrator's many betrayals of others and their many betrayals of him. It exists in an uncomfortable moral space where the humor of terrible things sometimes outweighs, but never obscures, their poignancy.” –Andrew Solomon