Telémachus, archetype of the boy left behind, is portrayed in this novel by Bobby Bacca, whose father, M.M.Bacca, the famous poet, has died. Bobby, an artist who has gone in search of his father’s past, revisits the Bacca legend through stories told by those who knew him best, while his own memories intersect with the effects of trauma pervading the adult lives of his contemporaries. This “sidebar of an odyssey” modernizes the abandonment and allure for might that 20th-century French philosopher Simone Weil takes as her foundation for declaring Homer the first and greatest pacifist poet. Though Mac Bacca is no hero, nor is he a Leopold Bloom, his aberrant and twisted personality takes us on a ride over some strange country along the neglected yet familiar path of the male soul.
“Father: Famous poet and vicious critic of contemporary poetry and politics found dead, seated on a subway platform bench. Son: Famous painter of miniature, imaginary landscapes seeks the secrets behind his estranged father’s personal and professional demise. The Chorus: Letters and texts from father’s friends sing us through the convoluted Archipelago of these distinctly contemporary lives. Climb aboard the Telémachus, secrets await! Michael Daley raises the bar on father-son tales.” –Bill Ransom, author of Jaguar (WordFire Press) and The Woman and the War Baby (Blue Begonia Press)
“I enjoyed Telémachus thoroughly. The opening chapter is a particular delight, and I read it through several times. It flows smoothly, the characters are well drawn and I hope that it enjoys a wide audience.” –Russell Hill, author of Ghost Trout, The Egret and Lord God Bird (Pleasure Boat Studio)


The novel, Telémachus, is told by the son of a famous contemporary American poet and critic whose reputation is that of a foul-mouthed crank, untrustworthy, and yet approachable. The son, Bobby, remembers the summer when he was thirteen, when his parents allowed him to run wild on his own, to raise himself. His unnamed small town can easily be placed in the Pacific Northwest; it is a seaside town and a tourist mecca. Bobby, who has lived there most of his life, trained as an artist in Paris, where his parents brought him as a little boy. Much of the story takes place in the narrator’s childhood; in certain scenes the quality of memory gives parts of the story an atmosphere of ‘dream time’ or legend, even myth. Bobby, a painter of miniature landscapes, narrates his father’s story as it leads to one night in the summer; he also tells the story of his own life beyond that night. His father had returned to the town after a car accident when his passenger was killed. He’s become even more of an emotional cripple than he was prior to the death he caused. On that memorable night, Bobby, the thirteen-year-old, has a long talk with his father, who later drops acid and is stopped by the police. The story ends at dawn.


Michael Daley is the author of a book of essays, Way Out There (Pleasure Boat Studio, 2007), and several books of poems and translations. His most recent collection of poems is Born With (Dos Madres, 2020). He is a retired teacher, and the publisher of Empty Bowl.


Books by Michael Daley

The Straits



Yes, Five Poems

Original Sin

The Corn Maiden

Horace: Eleven Odes

To Curve

Way Out There: Lyrical Essays

Moonlight in the Redemptive Forest

Alter Mundus by Lucia Gazzino (tr MDaley)

Of a Feather

Born With

True Heresies

This Is How Good Your Are: New & Selected Poems

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Original Language


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5.5 x 7.5, eBook, Paperback


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