Born in Rochester, NY; married; wife's name, Maureen; children: two. Education: Boston College, B.A., 1977; Binghamton University, M.A., 1983, Ph.D., 1996.
Office—Department of English, Washington College, 300 Washington Ave., Chestertown, MD 21620. E-mail—[email protected].
Educator and novelist. Washington College, Chestertown, MD, assistant professor of English and creative writing; director of O'Neill Literary House.
Father of the Man, Pantheon (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor of short fiction to periodicals.
In his debut novel, set in the early 1980s, Robert Mooney weaves a story about the love between a father and son against the backdrop of a United States still bitter about the Vietnam War and unsupportive of those whose families were fractured by that war. Readers of Father of the Man meet middle-aged bus driver Dutch Potter as the World War II veteran is reaching a crisis point in his life; he ultimately snaps and hijacks his bus and passengers. As local police give way for F.B.I. agents in the standoff that follows, Potter demands to be reunited with his son, a young man who was declared Missing in Action somewhere in southeast Asia more than a decade before and whose whereabouts have obsessed Potter ever since. When a retired Marine colonel who specialized in tracking down MIAs is called to the scene, the clues to Potter's son's disappearance begin to multiply, and Potter starts to come to terms not only with his relationship with his son but also with his family and his memories of his own wartime experiences.
In the Philadelphia Inquirer, contributor Phaedra Tre-than called Mooney's 2002 novel debut "touching without being sentimental," citing as effective the author's use of a "reportorial style not unlike a dispatch from a combat zone." While a Kirkus Reviews critic dubbed the book "rather stiff," a contributor to Publishers Weekly was more appreciative, praising Father of the Man as a "solid effort" and noting that by adding "an unusual twist to the usual hostage standoff plot" Mooney "establishes him[self] as a promising newcomer."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2002, review of Father of the Man, p. 1167.
Philadelphia Inquirer, January 2, 2003, Phaedra Tre-than, review of Father of the Man.
Publishers Weekly, September 2, 2002, review of Father of the Man, p. 53.*