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Farewell to the Father - Timothy Elliott

Paperback Published: 26th April 2016
ISBN: 9781743537893
Number Of Pages: 336

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Caroline Baum's Review

Following from a memorable piece he wrote about his father’s depression for the Good Weekend magazine, Elliott has now written a bravely honest memoir that fleshes out the family story and amplifies his father’s history of mental illness. It begins with a disturbingly arresting scene in which the whole family is party to Tim’s father’s first suicide attempt, a moment of ghastly drama for seven year old Tim. What follows is an account written with great love and understanding and that provides tremendous insight for anyone caught up in the vortex of bipolar disorder.


Towards the end of his first serious suicide attempts, my father said the strangest thing to me...

Growing up in 1970s Sydney, Tim Elliott had a loving stay-at-home mum, a professional father, three siblings, a private school education and endless opportunities to fish and surf at the nearby beaches.

But this was not the idyllic childhood it appeared. A charismatic, well-respected doctor by day, Tim's father became a roaring madman at night.

The house was our castle, and Dad was our king. He was an unpredictable king, tyrannous and moody, lethal one day, loving the next.

This is an extraordinary memoir of growing up with a parent afflicted by mental illness: a complex elegy, powerfully told, loaded with love, rage and surprising humour. It is about the lengths children will go to protect themselves - and their families - from shame or harm, and how adapting to that adversity becomes and intractable part of who we are as adults.

About the Author

Tim Elliott is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial Review, London's Financial Times and Sunday Times.

His book, Farewell to the Father, first arose from an article of the same name in The Sydney Morning Herald's Good Weekend magazine. The article generated one of the largest reader responses in the paper's history.

Industry Reviews

"Tim Elliott's story - on his father and love against the odds - will split your heart open.' Benjamin Law

Insight into living with mental illness


Great insight into how living with a family member with bi-polar disease affects everyone else, especially children.

melbourne australia


I looked forward to reading each new chapter


Tim Elliott really captures Sydney and the period covered by his book in an engaging way, while at the same time showing the far-reaching impacts of dealing with a family member with a mental illness. I found myself looking forward to reading each new chapter of this well-written book.

Sydney Australia


Very well written and easy to read


Very easy to relate to the people in this book.

Northern Tasmania



4.3 3


ISBN: 9781743537893
ISBN-10: 1743537891
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 26th April 2016
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.3 x 15.4  x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.49

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