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At the center of ALL HER FATHER'S GUNS is Cal Lyte. The dad in question. He's really more than a dad, per se, He's a stereotypical father figure. A strong man, a venture-capitalist with no fear and an ex-wife who wants him to pay more alimony. Tabytha, his ex and mother of his daughter Lyllyan is running for congress and wants Cal to fund her campaign. Her lawsuit implies that he would have been hiding income from her in order to pay her a lower amount. Angry and tired of the situation, he turns to his daughter's boyfriend Reid, a mild-mannered academic, in order to be his insider in his struggle to solve his family problems. They are worlds apart in terms of upbringing and yet they are a lot more closer to each other than they think.
The idea behind Warner's novel is a little abstract. There are two narrators, Reid and Cal and a definite plot (Cal's domestic struggle with Tabytha, gradually blowing out of proportions), ALL HER FATHER'S GUNS is really about two lives clashing together and creating a chain of events more than a a straightforward plot. It makes the novel difficult to follow at times, because it reads like a series of connected stories rather than a seamless novel. Whenever the narration jumps from Reid to Cal (and vice-versa) you have to adjust to a very different narrator who's talking at the first person. While Cal's segments are carrying most of the story, Reid's parts sometimes read like a humorous sketch about academic life. It's pretty funny if you have been a part of this life like I did (the meta-narratives joke had me laughing out loud, very rare when I read a book), but the humor will be lost on some. He's funny and he has some perspective on the situation, but he's no Nick Carraway (I know, it's unfair to compare the two, but it's just to give you a frame of reference.)