This new book by Massimo Recalcati focuses on the psycho-social life of the son. Comparing and contrasting the tragic story of Oedipus by Sophocles and the parable of the prodigal son, Recalcati argues that all common parenting strategies, whether authoritarian or democratic, are attempts at sealing the fate of sons – that is, they are designed to ensure that sons realize the dreams and fantasies of the parents. But all that sons want – and this is their secret because they generally do not want, or are unable, to confront their parents directly – is to be recognized as unique, as different, as independent, free-thinking individuals who are able to chart their own path in life, rather than extensions of their parents' fantasies. The parents' task is to acknowledge this, and to create the space for this desire to flourish.
Continuing his remarkable reflections on parents, children and family life, this new book by one of Italy's leading and bestselling public intellectuals will be of interest to a wide general readership.