Matthew Reilly On His Father: from ‘Things My Father Taught Me’

Matthew Reilly On His Father: from ‘Things My Father Taught Me’

Click here to read Matthew Reilly’s story

Review of Things My Father Taught Me, edited by Claire Halliday

things-my-father-taught-me (1)‘When his grandchildren are around, he is like the sun. He just sits there and all the kids get caught in his gravitational pull. They end up running in circles around him, laughing hysterically. He doesn’t need to do anything. Simply make funny faces or say silly, made-up words.’

– Danny Katz

Things My Father Taught Me is a perfect Father’s Day gift. It is a collection of reflections of many well-known Australians about how their fathers helped define them and shape their futures. Each writer in turn tackles the question: how much can a father shape the person you become?

For some, such as TV presenter David Koch, their father is the biggest influence on their entire life, learning from osmosis along the way. But for others, like journalist Joe Hildebrand, their father isn’t such a rosy portrait. ‘He was, as I’ve said, a very intelligent man and very worldly,’ Hildebrand writes. ‘but he was part of that generation of free-wheeling hippies who had all these ideological notions of selflessness and peace, love and understanding, but who, when you actually drilled down to it, were pretty narcissistic, hedonistic, commitment-less people who did whatever they wanted to do and called it freedom.’

Fathers can be intimidating, imposing figures in a child’s life. Sometimes they’re heroic. Deep thinkers. One thing is for sure: one way or another these men leave indelible prints on the people we become.

But among the stories that uplift are those who suffer the misfortune of neglectful, reckless parenting.

A real harrowing story is that of Father Bob Maguire, the Australian Roman Catholic priest and media personality more commonly known as Father Bob. His father was violent alcoholic man who was largely absent during Bob’s childhood, and those few memories they share are mostly tarnished by the grog. His father died from cancer right after the end of the Second World War, and Father Bob recalls ‘rolling cigarettes for him in the hospital ward. You used to be able to smoke in the cancer ward in those days.’

Comedian, writer, and singer Em Rusciano begins her reflections on fatherhood with the adorable observation that her dad is a ‘small Italian man who looks like Super Mario.’ She bares all with typical wit, portraying her father as generous, angry, impatient, loving, and ‘delightfully racist on occasions, as all immigrants are.’

Other highlights include bestselling action/adventure writer Matthew Reilly; Well-respected Christian advocate and writer Tim Costello; restaurateur and Masterchef host George Calombaris — and countless others.

Claire Halliday is an experienced journalist, copywriter, and author. She began her writing career doing features for The Sunday Age and, since then, has published more than 1000 articles in prominent magazines and newspapers. She has a strong interest in the lost art of listening and has honed interviewing skills that help her share powerful, compelling stories. Her books include Things My Father Taught Me (Echo) and Do You Want Sex With That? (Penguin).

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                    Synopsis

                    No matter how we describe our own father, he leaves an indelible imprint.Claire Halliday spoke with a range of well-known Australians who shared their stories about the way their dads shape their lives. From memories of deep warmth and closeness to stories of difficulty and tragedy – everyone’s story is unique.What’s common in these stories, from some of Australia’s much-loved comedians, singers, radio and TV personalities, chefs and authors, is that fathers have a defining impact on our attitudes and choices in life.Featuring the stories of Danny Katz, Ann Peacock, Anthony Callea, Darryn Lyons, David Koch, Joe Hildebrand, Kerri Pottharst (OAM), Neil Mitchell, Normie Rowe, Catriona Rowntree, George Calombaris, Paul West, Jo Stanley, Christian Wagstaff, Em Rusciano, Matthew Reilly, Rev Tim Costello, and Santo Cilauro... as told to Claire Halliday.About the AuthorClaire Halliday is an experienced journalist, copywriter, and author. She began her writing career doing features for The Sunday Age and, since then, has published more than 1000 articles in prominent magazines and newspapers. She has a strong interest in the lost art of listening and has honed interviewing skills that help her share powerful, compelling stories. Her books include Things My Mother Taught Me (Echo) and Do You Want Sex With That? (Penguin).
                    Claire Halliday
                    About the author

                    Claire Halliday

                    Claire Halliday is an experienced journalist, copywriter and the author of Do You Want Sex With That? (Penguin)

                    Books by Claire Halliday

                    Matthew Reilly
                    About the author

                    Matthew Reilly

                    Matthew Reilly is the international bestselling of author of twelve novels: ContestIce StationTempleArea 7ScarecrowHover Car RacerHell IslandSeven Ancient WondersThe Six Sacred StonesThe Five Greatest WarriorsScarecrow and the Army of Thieves and The Tournament. His thirteenth novel, The Great Zoo of China, is published for Christmas, 2014.Matthew’s books are published in over 20 languages and he has sold approximately 5 million books worldwide: 3 million in Australia; over a million in the US; and over a million in the UK.In 2011, Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves was the biggest selling fiction title released in Australia for that year. Three more of Matthew’s books have been the biggest-selling Australian fiction titles of their year of release: The Tournament (2013), Seven Ancient Wonders (2005), The Five Greatest Warriors (2009).Matthew has also written two novellas: in 2005, he wrote Hell Island for the Australian Government’s Books Alive project and in 2014 he released the epic fantasy-quest ebook Troll Mountain.Matthew has written several short stories, including Roger Ascham and the King’s Lost Girl, a special free prequel to The Tournament which is available online. Other short stories include Time ToursThe Mine and the hyper-adrenalised romp, Altitude Rush.Matthew was appointed to the Australian Government’s Public Lending Right and Educational Lending Right Committee in 2007. He served on that committee till the end of 2011. Matthew has done speeches at libraries across Australia and around the world, from Minlaton to Edinburgh, from Cape Town to Houston.He owns and drives a DeLorean DMC-12, the car made famous in the Back to the Future movies. He also has a life-sized Han Solo in carbonite hanging on the wall of his office!

                    Books by Matthew Reilly

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