More of a 3.5 star read but can't up it to 4. There were some genuinely unique and beautiful insights as well as some rare writing in The Father's Tale. It was these that kept me going through the thousand pages. But it was all few and far between. For me at least, having read quite a bit on the topic, the history that he revealed was parochial and so simplified that in the end it gave you no real grasp of what the Russian people suffered (or despite his short token mystical nod, what the Chinese are now suffering through). I couldn't disagree more with the reviewers who paint O'Brien as a master of Russian literature. It seems more likely he has a keen eye for highlights and inserted them into his novel with some skill. As with most reviews I've read, I agree you could literally knock out the first 400 pages and begin there. Even after that, the book does NOT take you in the direction that you think it is taking you and for that I was actually glad, but it didn't make the "book" any better. The 400 or so pages wasted "developing" the character in the beginning could very well have been added at the end to flesh out the most important part of the ideas he was trying to convey.