THE FATHER, SYNOPSIS
“I have a story for you,” says a man—head shaved, an arm tattooed black—to the writer sitting at the bar beside him. The man goes by the name of Savage.
Savage is born in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. But constantly failing—at discus throwing, at academics and the prom—he moves to New York City.
He lives in rundown hotels and sleeps in parks. Soon, however, he finds a room and a job, and he falls in love. Yet Sarah, a college sophomore, disappears.
Lonely months later, she returns with news: “I’m pregnant.”
They build a home and Sarah’s stomach grows. Sarah, who’s black, takes Savage to meet her mother. Celeste Cooper locks herself in her room: she does not approve.
A daughter, Evelyne, is soon born, and Savage, missing work for the birth, is fired. Yet he finds new jobs—packing Jesus candles and delivering groceries. The couple should be content. But Savage finds himself distancing, and Sarah, since Evey’s birth, is getting more depressed.
One day, Savage returns home to find Sarah crying, holding their shrieking daughter over a bath of steaming water. When that afternoon Sarah heads off to school, Savage takes their money, their daughter, and jumps on a bus back to North Carolina.
When he calls Sarah, she threatens to call the police. He’s so unnerved that he proclaims: “If you do, you will never see her again.”
He begins a life on the lam and heads to Virginia. There, broke, he stays in the dank house of an old woman who upon learning the lie that Sarah’s dead, says, “Good. Cause I’ll have no lechery … It’s the way of the devil.”
One rainy afternoon, learning he’s being pursued, he runs into a bus station bathroom. Frightened, he places Evey in his duffle bag and, coaxing her to take a pacifier, zips it closed. They board a bus to Washington, D.C.
He finds work as a dishwasher. Yet on Christmas Eve, the diner owner, Mary, tells him he must go. He finds more menial work. A new identity. But he’s on break one day when passing a TV, he sees his own image: they’re hunting him.
He travels back to New York City, the scene of his crime. No money, few diapers. Seeing no alternative, he locks his crying daughter in a hotel bathroom so he can go find work. Yet overwhelmed, he returns. “We’ll find another way,” he whispers.
They change their names and Savage his jobs, and he begins to stalk his ex-lover Sarah. His daughter, now named Maggie, grows. But as she does, she begins to ask questions, to realize certain stories untrue. Savage promises to tell her the truth once she turns eighteen, and when that day comes, Maggie leaves him.
The questions become: What will Savage do with his twenty-year guilt? Is a life of hiding really the greatness he’d always dreamed of?
THE FATHER is the story of a father and daughter linked by tragedy, of a man seeking meaning in a life that has given him none.