The Paris Review

Need a Father’s Day Gift? A Novel Proposal

If Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, Father’s Day is surely the hardest. What do you get for the member of the family—at least if your dad is anything like mine—who claims to never want anything? Peruse the mall in early June and the choices appear to fall into three categories: 1. yawningly boring shirt-and-tie combos, 2. assorted World’s Greatest Dad paraphernalia, and 3. gadgets. So many gadgets. Bluetooth-enabled titanium-alloy grilling spatulas. Bottle openers made from machine-gun rounds. Star Wars waffle makers.

There are, of course, messages encoded in each category. A shirt and tie says, Keep working, Pops. Anything labeled World’s

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