by David Layton
From the author of The Bird Factory, a new novel about an estranged father and son forced together under the same roof—one losing his grip on reality and the other discovering a secret past that he may never fully understand.
Aaron, unhappy in middle age, must deal with the reverberations of the financial crisis, his increasingly alienated teenaged daughter and the sudden care of his father, Karl, a man he hardly knows, who is descending into Alzheimer’s.
Karl is a man who has survived by reinventing himself many times over. Blustering, arrogant, he is convinced that the world is intentionally trying to confuse him, not least his good-for-nothing son. Not like his other son, the one he left behind. If only Karl could remember his name, and where he is, Karl would go and find him.
With a deft touch and a wonderful ability to show the humorous in the tragic, David Layton has created a novel that explores the relationship between fathers and sons, and how the events of the past translate down through generations. Told from the alternating perspectives of Karl and Aaron, and travelling from present-day Toronto to a postwar settlement of Jewish immigrants in the Dominican Republic, The Dictator is at turns funny, poignant and insightful.