I have just read "FATHER AND SON A LIFETIME" by Marcos Giralt Torrente. The book was published in Spain in 2010. Translated into English by Natasha Wimmer the book was published by Sarah Crichton Books in 2014.
This bittersweet and tender memoir is about Torrente's interaction with his unpredictable father, right up until the death, from cancer, of the latter.
It's a good read, and I recommend the book.
On page 108 of the American edition Marcos Torrente writes this of his father:
" My father was shy, introverted, and melancholy by nature, but that does not mean that he was sad. He hated any kind of solemnity, including the solemnity bred of sadness. His main obsession, it's fair to say, was being happy. He harbored all kinds of doubts about himself and was always grappling with them. but just as zealously he sought distraction, sought to brush his doubts aside. Humor was his tool, the territory in which he moved most easily. He used it to defuse potential conflict, to avoid the gaze of others, to shine in public, to demand affection, to order affection, to judge the world. Also to defend himself. When he was cornered and forced into a prickly conversation. his initial tactic for dodging blows was a humorous remark. It was his way of asking for forgiveness and obtaining it before running into a dead end. It was his way of buying time when he felt corralled before a blowup, since his incapacity for dialogue when he was questioned often led to fits of anger."
There is so much of me in this description.
Thank goodness I never married and had a son. He would have seen through me by the time he was thirteen, hated me by the time he was sixteen, ignored me in his twenties, despised me in his thirties, and tried to understand me in his forties.