It is possible, even at such moments, to sustain an admiration for Fatherhood’s impassive examination of male failure and implosion, but to welcome it as a “rewriting of masculinity”, as the publisher puts it, is more onerous. The father betakes himself to a hospital for stitches, where he chats idly to the doctor and enjoys “the reassuring spectacle of a large, strong man engaged in gentle work”. The baby, meanwhile, must make do with al fresco healthcare. What’s troubling here are not real or imagined parenting failures but the wash of affectlessness that by now obscures both the father’s view and ours. What do all these lapses and ruptures portend? What, if anything, is wrong with this man?