How to be so complicated

< Previous | Next >


Senior Member

Harold has a very special, intelligent, and somehow strange son; David, opposite of himself, so he has no idea how to behave towards him. Does the bold sentence mean " he doesn't know how to appear so complicated, as his father? I'm not sure about the meaning of complicated here! does it mean he should not act or appear plainly?

One night at the dance hall of a holiday camp, David, who had only 8 years old, won Twist Prize,
he was jiggering so fast, it was impossible to tell whether he was happy or in pain
. Then the
compere began a slow clap, and made a joke that rang through the dance hall, so that everyone roared. Bewildered, Harold had smiled too; not knowing in that moment how to be anything so complicated as his son's father.
Many thanks.
It's part of "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry"by Rachel Joyce, British writer.
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm not surprised you find this difficult, Maryam. I'll try to explain:

    The simple idea is that he didn't know how to play the role of father to the boy who was dancing like that.

    The more complicated idea is that the role of father to a complicated son must itself, by extension of ideas, be complicated.

    He didn't know how to be anything very complicated, and certainly not anything so complicated as being father to this extraordinary child.

    Keep asking, if that doesn't make the passage clear.
    < Previous | Next >