Nevada sheep rancher Joe Juaristi spoke for years about making a trip back to the Spanish Basque Country that he left sixty years earlier, but each time the subject came up the discussion evolved into a family debate about the scope and members of the journey. Finally Joe's son, Vince, secretly resolved to organize the trip that his father wanted and needed--the two of them, traveling alone, making a quiet reunion with Joe's twin sister, who suffers from Alzheimer's, visiting other aging siblings and friends, and recounting the places that formed Joe's memories of his youth.
Back to Bizkaia is part travel book, part memoir of two men exploring their mutual roots and their unique father-son bond. The narrative intertwines an engaging account of the contemporary Basque Country with Joe's experiences as an immigrant making his way in a new country and Vince's memories of growing up in a close Basque-American community in the American West. This is a book about Basques and their American families, but on another level it is every immigrant's story of return to a beloved homeland.
P. L. Gaus’s Blood of the Prodigal, a mystery in the tradition of Tony Hillerman, is back in a new edition, including an exclusive interview with the author, discussion questions for reading groups, and a detailed map and driving guide to Holmes County, Ohio, with everything one needs to visit the iconic scenes depicted in the story.
In Holmes County, Ohio—home to the largest Amish and Mennonite settlements in the world—mystery and foreboding lurk in the quiet Old Order Amish community led by Bishop Eli Miller.
The illusion of peace is shattered one early morning when a young Amish boy goes missing—abducted from his home and from Bishop Miller’s care. At first, the bishop suspects the child’s father, who was exiled from the Old Order ten years ago, but a murder soon casts doubt on the bishop’s theory. With a strong distrust of law enforcement and the modern “English” ways, the bishop must put his faith in an unlikely partnership with Professor Michael Branden before it’s too late.
With the help of the peaceful pastor Cal Troyer and the reckless Sheriff Bruce Robertson, Branden plunges headlong into the closed culture to unravel the mystery of the missing child and uncover truths many would prefer to leave undisturbed.
The Buffalo, Ben, and Me
Todd Parnell & Foreword by Jim Baker University of Missouri Press, 2007 Library of Congress CT275.P354A3 2007 | Dewey Decimal 976.7053092
The Buffalo River in northwest Arkansas is one of the longest free-flowing, undammed rivers west of the Mississippi—and one of the most beautiful waterways on earth. Almost lost to development, it proved to be the perfect testing ground for a young boy almost lost to mediocrity.
Middle-schooler Ben is struggling with learning challenges that have left him resentful and underachieving. His father, middle-ager Todd, wants to help his son gain self-confidence but is searching for his own identity. For twelve adventure-filled days on the river—all 125 miles of her navigable course, from Ponca to the White River—father and son discover the formative, curative, and redemptive powers of nature.
Leaving video games and cell phones behind isn’t easy for kids these days, but in the great outdoors parents and youngsters can connect in unimaginable ways. The Buffalo, Ben, and Me shares such a connection in an adventure story set on a wild river. It is a captivating tale featuring a host of colorful characters and enlivened by photos that reflect the essence of the wilderness.
But deeper than that, it is the story of crossing a threshold from dream to possibility—of one man’s search for meaning in his life and his efforts to motivate his son, blending love of family with love of nature in a tale of transformation. It tells how a rebellious teen and a bored banker conspired to buck a system keyed to predictability, and how a wild river inspired both to a better use of their lives. “This trip hit me as hard as it did Ben,” writes Parnell, “as a wake-up call to life, to what is important, to what is not.”
The trip down the Buffalo was one that even Ben admits changed his life in more ways than one, as he later went on to earn a master of science degree specializing in stream ecology. For any reader who loves the outdoors—and especially those seeking to connect with their children—The Buffalo, Ben, and Me is essential reading that reminds us of possibilities to be had in facing life head-on as it raises awareness of the need to protect the Ozarks’ water resources and heritage.
In 1998, Don Nichols returned regularly to Iowa from his life and job in Washington, D.C., to be with his dying father and to oversee his parents’ investments. A veteran investor and investment author, Nichols found that managing the portfolio entrusted to him brought a larger understanding of mortality, family, love, work, and the choices he had made as “an agri-kid who took the road out of town and kept going.” In this insightful and money-wise book that grew out of that experience, he merges the emotions of a dutiful son with the actions of a knowledgeable investor.
Nichols uses money in myriad forms—a grandfather‘s silver dollar, stocks and bonds, salaries, pallets of coins at the U.S. Mint, on-the-job dealings with coin collectors—as touchstones for reflections on relationships, motives, and a career "like one of those moving walkways in airports." His father's health is measured, tested, and evaluated in part by the health of his finances; at the same time, the turmoil and mystery surrounding both money and relationships are reflected in this memorable story.
Wry, unsentimental, and financially savvy, Currency of the Heart is about rediscovering family, managing a portfolio, honoring promises, grieving, and healing; it is about a father and a son who once “fought like medieval villagers in a Thirty Years‘ War” and the deepening bond between a middle-age son and his aging mother. It is a multilayered story for everyone who will manage, financially and emotionally, a parent's death.
Margaret King shows what the death of a little boy named Valerio Marcello over five hundred years ago can tell us about his time.
This child, scion of a family of power and privilege at Venice's time of greatness, left his father in a state of despair so profound and so public that it occasioned an outpouring of consoling letters, orations, treatises, and poems. In these documents, we find a firsthand account, richly colored by humanist conventions and expectations, of the life of the fifteenth-century boy, the passionate devotion of his father, the feelings of his brothers and sisters, the striking absence of his mother. The father's story is here as well: the career of a Venetian nobleman and scholar, patron and soldier, a participant in Venice's struggle for dominion in the north of Italy.
Through these sources also King traces the cultural trends that made Marcello's century famous. Her work enlarges our view of the literature of consolation, which had a distinctive tradition in Venice, and shifting attitudes toward death from the late Middle Ages onward.
For the depth and acuity of its insights into political, cultural, and private life in fifteenth-century Venice, this book will be essential reading for students of the Renaissance. For the grace and drama of its storytelling, it will be savored by anyone who wishes to look into life and death in a palace, and a city, long ago.
Diary of Our Fatal Illness
Charles Bardes University of Chicago Press, 2017 Library of Congress PS3602.A775265D53 2017 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
This moving prose poem tells the story of an aged man who suffers a prolonged and ultimately fatal illness. From initial diagnosis to remission to relapse to death, the experience is narrated by the man’s son, a practicing doctor. Charles Bardes, a physician and poet, draws on years of experience with patients and sickness to construct a narrative that links myth, diverse metamorphoses, and the modern mechanics of death. We stand with the doctors, the family, and, above all, a sick man and his disease as their voices are artfully crafted into a new and powerful language of illness.
The Eternal Son
Cristovão Tezza Tagus Press, 2013 Library of Congress PQ9698.3.E97F5513 2013 | Dewey Decimal 869.342
In this multi-award-winning autobiographical novel, Cristovão Tezza draws readers into the mind of a young father whose son, Felipe, is born with Down syndrome. From the initial shock of diagnosis, and through his growing understanding of the world of hospitals and therapies, Tezza threads the story of his son's life with his own. Felipe, who lives in an eternal present, becomes a remarkable young man; for Tezza, however, the story is a settling of accounts with himself and his own limitations and ultimately a coming to terms with the sublime ironies and arbitrariness of life. He struggles with the phantom of shame, as if his son's condition were an indication of his own worth, and yearns for a "normal" world that is always out of reach. Reading this compelling book is like stumbling through a trapdoor into the writer's mind, where nothing is censored and everything is constantly examined and reinterpreted.
An innovative study of two of England’s most popular, controversial, and influential writers, Father and Son breaks new ground in examining the relationship between Kingsley Amis and his son, Martin Amis. Through intertextual readings of their essays and novels, Gavin Keulks examines how the Amises’ work negotiated the boundaries of their personal relationship while claiming territory in the literary debate between mimesis and modernist aesthetics. Theirs was a battle over the nature of reality itself, a twentieth-century realism war conducted by loving family members and rival, antithetical writers. Keulks argues that the Amises’ relationship functioned as a source of literary inspiration and that their work illuminates many of the structural and stylistic shifts that have characterized the British novel since 1950.
The impact of absent fathers on sons in the black community has been a subject for cultural critics and sociologists who often deal in anonymous data. Yet many of those sons have themselves addressed the issue in autobiographical works that form the core of African American literature.
A Fatherless Child examines the impact of fatherlessness on racial and gender identity formation as seen in black men’s autobiographies and in other constructions of black fatherhood in fiction. Through these works, Tara T. Green investigates what comes of abandonment by a father and loss of a role model by probing a son’s understanding of his father’s struggles to define himself and the role of community in forming the son’s quest for self-definition in his father’s absence.
Closely examining four works—Langston Hughes’s The Big Sea, Richard Wright’s Black Boy, Malcolm X’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father—Green portrays the intersecting experiences of generations of black men during the twentieth century both before and after the Civil Rights movement. These four men recall feeling the pressure and responsibility of caring for their mothers, resisting public displays of care, and desiring a loving, noncontentious relationship with their fathers. Feeling vulnerable to forces they may have identified as detrimental to their status as black men, they use autobiography as a tool for healing, a way to confront that vulnerability and to claim a lost power associated with their lost fathers.
Through her analysis, Green emphasizes the role of community as a father-substitute in producing successful black men, the impact of fatherlessness on self-perceptions and relationships with women, and black men’s engagement with healing the pain of abandonment. She also looks at why these four men visited Africa to reclaim a cultural history and identity, showing how each developed a clearer understanding of himself as an American man of African descent.
A Fatherless Child conveys important lessons relevant to current debates regarding the status of African American families in the twenty-first century. By showing us four black men of different eras, Green asks readers to consider how much any child can heal from fatherlessness to construct a positive self-image—and shows that, contrary to popular perceptions, fatherlessness need not lead to certain failure.
A Father's Words: A Novel
Richard Stern University of Chicago Press, 1990 Library of Congress PS3569.T39F3 1990 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Cy Riemer—fifty-ish, divorced, and father of four—surveys the dispersal of his family with a mixture of anxiety, humor, sadness, and pride. In this wry, moving, and wise novel, Richard Stern offers his masterful portrait of Cy as the quintessential caring yet controlling parent, a relentless seeker of self-knowledge whose search is intensified through conflicts with his brilliant, ne'er-do-well son Jack. The "manipulation of a smart, sane, self-justifying narrator . . . is not the least of Stern's achievements in this delicate fabrication of tough prose and tender adjustment of sentiment."—Geoffrey Wolff, Los Angeles Times
"Richard Stern's novels are robustly intelligent, very funny, and beguilingly humane. He knows as much as anyone writing American prose about family mischief, intellectual shenanigans, love blunders—and about writing American prose."—Philip Roth
"A delectable rhetorical display. . . . "—The New Yorker
"Anyone who has read Richard Stern's previous novels won't need to be told he is an unusually crisp and intelligent writer, with a sharp edge to his wit; and in A Father's Words he runs true to form. Many of the book's pleasures are incidental: jokes, intellectual cadenzas, agile turns of phrase . . . The author's powers of farcical invention climax in a brilliant, bitter episode where . . . the younger man proclaims his final failure . . . Mr. Stern has written an excellent novel."—John Gross, New York Times
"Richard Stern is American letters' unsung comic writer about serious matters . . . [A Father's Words] produced in this reviewer an apostolic desire to convince a wider audience to try Stern, especially the vintage Stern."—Doris Grumbach, Chicago Tribune
The Gambler's Apprentice
H. Lee Barnes University of Nevada Press, 2016 Library of Congress PS3552.A673854G36 2016 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
The Gambler’s Apprentice tells the story of a teenage boy growing up in Texas during desperate times. Willy, wise and capable beyond his years, learns the gambler’s trade and experiences adventures that demand quick wits—and sometimes violent actions. This is a multilayered story, full of Old West motifs such as cattle-rustling and gunfights along with more modern twists.
Starting with a cattle-rustling scheme involving his father, Willy embarks on a life of crime early, eventually landing in a Laredo jail for shooting a man. During his incarceration he meets Sonny Archer, an itinerant gambler, who teaches Willy how to be a cardsharp. Upon his release, Willy roams the country, honing his new talent and getting into more trouble. During his time in New Orleans, Willy even winds up in a confrontation with an Italian crime ring.
While all these adventures mold Willy into a clever card player and a masterful fortune-hunter, his grand ambition to be a professional gambler is thwarted when the influenza epidemic strikes. Willy is forced to return home to his family’s Texas ranch, where he faces the most challenging test of his young life and begins to prove that he is far more than simply an apprentice.
The Garden of the World
Lawrence Coates University of Nevada Press, 2012 Library of Congress PS3553.O153G37 2012 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
California’s Santa Clara Valley was once home to a vigorous wine industry. The Garden of the World is the tale of a pioneer winemaking family headed by Paul Tourneau, a fiercely ambitious vintner determined to make the finest wines in California. His plans are disrupted by a phylloxera epidemic at the beginning of the twentieth century, the trials of national Prohibition, and the bitter alienation of his older son. Played out against the vividly depicted seasonal rhythms of vineyard life, this is a moving saga of betrayal, loss, and the harsh consequences of unbreakable ambition.
Lyn Miller-Lachmann Northwestern University Press, 2009 Library of Congress PZ7.M6392Gri 2009
Daniel’s papá, Marcelo, used to play soccer, dance the cueca, and drive his kids to school in a beat-up green taxi—all while publishing an underground newspaper that exposed Chile’s military regime.
After papá’s arrest in 1980, Daniel’s family fled to the United States. Now Daniel has a new life, playing guitar in a rock band and dating Courtney, a minister’s daughter. He hopes to become a US citizen as soon as he turns eighteen.
When Daniel’s father is released and rejoins his family, they see what five years of prison and torture have done to him. Marcelo is partially paralyzed, haunted by nightmares, and bitter about being exiled to “Gringolandia.” Daniel worries that Courtney’s scheme to start a bilingual human rights newspaper will rake up papá’s past and drive him further into alcohol abuse and self-destruction. Daniel dreams of a real father-son relationship, but he may have to give up everything simply to save his papá’s life.
This powerful coming-of-age story portrays an immigrant teen’s struggle to reach his tortured father and find his place in the world.
To the outside world, Walter de Milly's father was a prominent businessman, a dignified Presbyterian, and a faithful husband; to Walter, he was an overwhelming, handsome monster. This paperback edition of In My Father's Arms: A Son's Story of Sexual Abuse adds a reflective preface by the author and a foreword by Richard B. Gartner, author of Beyond Betrayal: Taking Charge of Your Life after Boyhood Sexual Abuse.
"A sensitive and compelling account of father-son incest. In spite of the suffering portrayed, the account also gives testimony to the strength of family bonds, and to the courage and resilience of the human spirit."—Fred S. Berlin, MD, Director of the National Institute for the Study, Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Trauma
"This is the most detailed and utterly plausible account I've ever read of what it feels like to be an abused child, and it is told with cinematic presence and verisimilitude. The anger, the love, the evasiveness and jealousy and confusion, the need to dissociate oneself from one's own actions and reactions—all are presented in a harrowing narrative, which is as tragic as a Greek drama and as engrossing as a Victorian novel. The unexpected element in this book—which falls on it like manna—is its nourishing, exquisite lyricism."—Edmund White, author of A Boy's Own Story
"Walter de Milly has written a sensitive and compelling account of father-son incest. In spite of the suffering portrayed, the account also gives testimony to the strength of family bonds, and to the courage and resilience of the human spirit."—Fred S. Berlin, M.D., Director of the National Institute for the Study, Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Trauma
"This is the most detailed and utterly plausible account I've ever read of what it feels like to be an abused child, and it is told with cinematic presence and verisimilitude. The anger, the love, the evasiveness and jealousy and confusion, the need to dissociate oneself from one's own actions and reactions—all are presented in a harrowing narrative, which is as tragic as a Greek drama and as engrossing as a Victorian novel. The unexpected element in this book—which falls on it like manna—is its nourishing, exquisite lyricism."—Edmund White
The TV-perfect family of Walter de Milly III was like many others in the American South of the 1950s—seemingly close-knit, solidly respectable, and active in the community.
Tragically, Walter's deeply troubled father would launch his family on a perilous journey into darkness. To the outside world, this man is a prominent businessman, a dignified Presbyterian, and a faithful husband; to Walter, he is an overwhelming, handsome monster. Whenever the two are together, young Walter becomes a sexual plaything for his father; father and son outings are turned into soul-obliterating nightmares.
Walter eventually becomes a successful businessman only to be stricken by another catastrophe: his father, at the age of seventy, is caught molesting a young boy. Walter is asked to confront his father. Walter convenes his family, and in a private conference with a psychiatrist, the father agrees to be surgically castrated.
De Milly's portraits of his relationships with his father and mother, and the confrontation that leads to his father's bizarre and irreversible voluntary "cure," are certain to be remembered long after the reader has set aside this powerful contribution to the literature of incest survival.
Walter de Milly is a writer living in Key West, Florida.
In the Congo
Urs Widmer Seagull Books, 2020 Library of Congress PT2685.I24
Kuno, a male nurse in a Swiss retirement home, has a new inmate: his father. In the confines of their new home, the pair does something surprising—they finally begin to talk. Kuno had always regarded his father as a boring man without a history or a destiny, until they are thrust together and he learns that his father risked his life in the war. Stunned, Kuno embarks on a journey into his own psyche, taking him to the depths of the Congo. Here, longings awaken and dreams come true—rays of light in the darkness, meetings with kings, seductive women, and the songs of the jungle. This alluring far-away place he once regarded as the heart of darkness suddenly becomes an exciting locale of lunacy, wildness, and tests of inner strength.
In Urs Widmer’s characteristic style, In the Congo is a riveting yarn, threading through not only the relationship between a father and son, but that of Africa and Europe. Translated by Donal McLaughlin, this novel will delight Widmer fans the world over and will turn our notions of colonialism on their heads.
The Invisible World
John Smolens Michigan State University Press, 2017 Library of Congress PS3569.M646I58 2017 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
The Invisible World portrays how a remarkable family is indelibly marred by one of the darkest conspiracy theories in American history: the gunman on the grassy knoll. Boston journalist Sam Adams suspects that his father may have been the unidentified gunman in the JFK assassination. True or not, Sam is certain that his father, the elusive John Adams, is responsible for his sister Abigail’s tortured life of drugs, prostitution, and the conviction that she is a descendant of Salem witches, as well as the strange circumstances that surround his mother’s final hours.
After Sam's mother dies and is cremated, her ashes are stolen. Believing that his father is responsible, Sam pursues the man he has not seen in years. He discovers that he is not the only one searching for his father—federal agents, a disgraced politician, a retired Boston cop, and several journalists join the chase.
“The Invisible World is more than a first-rate political thriller,” says The Boston Globe. “It’s an absorbing tale of alienation and loss, and the ramifications of a rootless, troubled family.” What Sam Adams ultimately discovers is that the shadowy realm of conspiracies conjures a world of hidden truths and intrigue in which the familiar is the most mysterious force of all.
Julian Hawthorne (1846-1934), Nathaniel Hawthorne's only son, lived a long and influential life marked by bad circumstances and worse choices. Raised among luminaries such as Thoreau, Emerson, and the Beecher family, Julian became a promising novelist in his twenties, but his writing soon devolved into mediocrity.
What talent the young Hawthorne had was spent chasing across the changing literary and publishing landscapes of the period in search of a paycheck, writing everything from potboilers to ad copy. Julian was consistently short of funds because--as biographer Gary Scharnhorst is the first to reveal--he was supporting two households: his wife in one and a longtime mistress in the other.
The younger Hawthorne's name and work ethic gave him influence in spite of his haphazard writing. Julian helped to found Cosmopolitan and Collier's Weekly. As a Hearst stringer, he covered some of the era's most important events: McKinley's assassination, the Galveston hurricane, and the Spanish-American War, among others.
When Julian died at age 87, he had written millions of words and more than 3,000 pieces, out-publishing his father by a ratio of twenty to one. Gary Scharnhorst, after his own long career including works on Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, and other famous writers, became fascinated by the leaps and falls of Julian Hawthorne. This biography shows why.
There are sons who grow up unhappily believing that no matter what they do, they cannot please their fathers. Often unable to shed their sense of lifelong failure, either they give up and suffer in a permanent sulk, or they try with all their might to prove they are worth something after all. These are the "loser sons," a group of historical men as varied as President George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden, and Mohammed Atta. Their names quickly illustrate that not only are their problems serious, but they also make serious problems for others, expanding to whole nations. When God is conceived and inculcated as an angry and impossible-to-please father, the problems can last for generations.
In Loser Sons, Avital Ronell draws on current philosophy, literary history, and political events to confront the grim fact that divested boys become terrifying men. This would be old news if the problem didn't recur so often with such disastrous consequences. Looking beyond our current moment, she interrogates the problems of authority, paternal fantasy, and childhood as they have been explored and exemplified by Franz Kafka, Goethe's Faust, Benjamin Franklin, Jean-François Lyotard, Hannah Arendt, Alexandre Kojève, and Immanuel Kant.
Brilliantly weaving these threads into a polyvocal discourse, Ronell shows how, with their arrays of powerful symbols, ideologies of all sorts perpetuate the theme that while childhood represents innocence, adulthood entails responsible cruelty. The need for suffering--preferably somebody else's--has become a widespread assumption, not only justifying abuses of authority, but justifying authority itself.
Shockingly honest, Loser Sons recognizes that focusing on the spectacular catastrophes of modernity might make writer and reader feel they're engaged in something important, while in fact what they are engaged in is still only spectacle. To understand the implications of her insights, Ronell addresses them directly to her readers, challenging them to think through their own notions of authority and their responses to it.
RICHARD CURRY West Virginia University Press, 2005 Library of Congress PS3553.U6665L67 2005 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Richard Currey's Lost Highway has attracted a legion of admirers since its initial publication in 1997. The book depicts the epic struggle of an ordinary person living his dreams and following his passion. Lost Highway is the story of Sapper Reeves, a gifted country musician from the small town of Maxwell, West Virginia. Sapper’s story covers the events of more than half a century, from his birth in a poor coal mining town through his travels on the back roads of Appalachia in search of recognition and respect. Along the way, Sapper’s embattled love for his wife and struggle to come to terms with his combat-wounded son form the basis of his artistic and personal redemption.
"Science claims it will one day be able to eliminate fathers from the equation by mating bone marrow with ovum. When that day comes, I imagine this book, along with a handful of other works (King Lear, Fun Home) will become even more necessary. Herein find the blueprints for the mystery, the maps for the uncharted, the keys to the archetype." —Nick Flynn, author of The Reenactments and Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
"At this moment, I find myself at loose ends, lost in the various vacuums left by my father's dying and my sons' departures out into the voids. Yet this stunning constellation of essays centered me, became for me fine instruments of reckoning of where to stand in the ceaseless entropic dynamic of kin, of paternal keening. These waxing meditations demonstrate the inflationary universe, the heft and velocity of that big ol' nothing. They elegantly fill, with sober hope and the balm of joy, the terrifying, infinite spaces between those waning stars." —Michael Martone, author of Michael Martone and Four for a Quarter
"What an unreachable mystery the father is, preoccupied, unknowable, pervasive. In these fascinating essays, a shared portrait emerges as writers articulate the perpetual puzzle of the father and, with grace and candor, explore what it means to not know him, to never know him. As one voice, these essays investigate the man—his inventories, his myths, his mere traces—who makes up our horizons, who forever shimmers there beyond our collective grasp." —Susanna Sonnenberg, author of Her Last Death and She Matters: A Life in Friendships
Selected from the country's leading literary journals and publications—Crazyhorse, Colorado Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Creative Nonfiction, Georgia Review, Gulf Coast, The Missouri Review, The Normal School, and others—Man in the Moon brings together essays in which sons, daughters, and fathers explore the elusive nature of this intimate relationship and find unique ways to frame and understand it: through astronomy, arachnology, storytelling, map-reading, television, puzzles, DNA, and so on. In the collection's title essay, Bill Capossere considers the inextricable link between his love of astronomy and memories of his father: "The man in the moon is no stranger to me,” he writes. "I have seen his face before, and it is my father's, and his father's, and my own.” Other essays include Dinty Moore's "Son of Mr. Green Jeans: A Meditation on Missing Fathers,” in which Moore lays out an alphabetic investigation of fathers from popular culture—Ward Cleaver, Jim Anderson, Ozzie Nelson—while ruminating on his own absent father and hesitation to become a father himself. In "Plot Variations,” Robin Black attempts to understand, through the lens of teaching fiction to creative writing students, her inability to attend her father's funeral. Deborah Thompson tries to reconcile her pride in her father's pioneering research in plastics and her concerns about their toxic environmental consequences in "When the Future Was Plastic.” At turns painfully familiar, comic, and heartbreaking, the essays in this collection also deliver moments of seari
How does a parent make sense of a child’s severe mental illness? How does a father meet the daily challenges of caring for his gifted but delusional son, while seeking to overcome the stigma of madness and the limits of psychiatry? W. J. T. Mitchell’s memoir tells the story—at once representative and unique—of one family’s encounter with mental illness and bears witness to the life of the talented young man who was his son.
Gabriel Mitchell was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age twenty-one and died by suicide eighteen years later. He left behind a remarkable archive of creative work and a father determined to honor his son’s attempts to conquer his own illness. Before his death, Gabe had been working on a film that would show madness from inside and out, as media stereotype and spectacle, symptom and stigma, malady and minority status, disability and gateway to insight. He was convinced that madness is an extreme form of subjective experience that we all endure at some point in our lives, whether in moments of ecstasy or melancholy, or in the enduring trauma of a broken heart. Gabe’s declared ambition was to transform schizophrenia from a death sentence to a learning experience, and madness from a curse to a critical perspective.
Shot through with love and pain, Mental Traveler shows how Gabe drew his father into his quest for enlightenment within madness. It is a book that will touch anyone struggling to cope with mental illness, and especially for parents and caregivers of those caught in its grasp.
Winner of The Paterson Prize for Books for Young People
Recommended by USA Today for Black History Month as "a blend of history and suspense."
In this novel for young adults, Josh knows there is something about the tall Victorian House on the Harpers Ferry Hill, the one his father grew up in, that he can’t quite put his finger on. And his impossible father won’t give him any clues. He’s hiding something.
And then there’s the famous John Brown. The one who all the tourists come to hear about. The one whose statue looms over Josh’s house. Why does he seem to haunt Josh and his whole family? When the fancy Richmonds come to town and move right next door, their presence forces Josh to find the answers and stand up to the secrets of the House, to his father—and to John Brown, too.
The historic village of Harpers Ferry comes alive in this young boy’s brave search for answers and a place of his own in this brilliant first novel by John Michael Cummings.
Not from Here: A Memoir
Allan Johnson Temple University Press, 2015 Library of Congress CT275.J6295A3 2015 | Dewey Decimal 306.8742
When Allan Johnson asked his dying father where he wanted his ashes to be placed, his father replied—without hesitation—that it made no difference to him at all. In his poignant, powerful memoir, Not from Here, Johnson embarks on an extraordinary, 2,000-mile journey across the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains to find the place where his father’s ashes belonged.
As a white man with Norwegian and English lineage, Johnson explores both America and the question of belonging to a place whose history holds the continuing legacy of the displacement, dispossession, and genocide of Native peoples.
More than a personal narrative, Not from Here illuminates the national silence around unresolved questions of accountability, race, and identity politics, and the dilemma of how to take responsibility for “a past we did not create.” Johnson’s story—about the past living in the present; of redemption, fate, family, tribe, and nation; of love and grief—raises profound questions about belonging, identity, and place.
Secrets and snakes, rock and gospel, guilt and grace.
The Psalms of Israel Jones is the story of a father and son’s journey towards spiritual redemption. This novel tells the tale of a famous father trapped inside the suffocating world of rock and roll, and his son who is stranded within the bounds of conventional religion.
When Reverend Thomas Johnson receives an anonymous phone call, he learns his Dylanesque rock star father is acting deranged on stage, where he’s being worshipped by a cult of young people who slash their faces during performances. In his declining years, Israel Jones has begun to incite his fans to violence. They no longer want to watch the show—they want to be the show.
Eager to escape troubles with his congregation as well as gain an apology from his dad for abandoning his family, Reverend Johnson leaves town and joins Israel Jones’s Eternal Tour. This decision propels him to the center of a rock and roll hell, giving him one last chance to reconnect with his father, wife, congregation—and maybe even God.
The Psalms of Israel Jones is the 2010 Hackney Literary Award winner for an unpublished manuscript.
A River Runs Through It
Norman Maclean University of Chicago Press, 1989 Library of Congress PS3563.A317993R58 1989 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
From its first magnificent sentence, "In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing", to the last, "I am haunted by waters", A River Runs Through It is an American classic.
Based on Norman Maclean's childhood experiences, A River Runs Through It has established itself as one of the most moving stories of our time; it captivates readers with vivid descriptions of life along Montana's Big Blackfoot River and its near magical blend of fly fishing with the troubling affections of the heart.
This handsome edition is designed and illustrated by Barry Moser. There are thirteen two-color wood engravings.
"A masterpiece. . . . This is more than stunning fiction: It is a lyric record of a time and a life, shining with Maclean's special gift for calling the reader's attention to arts of all kinds—the arts that work in nature, in personality, in social intercourse, in fly-fishing."—Kenneth M. Pierce, Village Voice
"Wise, witty, wonderful, Maclean spins his tales, casts his flies, fishes the rivers and woods for what he remembers of his youth in the Rockies."—Barbara Bannon, Publishers Weekly
"Maclean's book is surely destined to be one of those rare memoirs that can be called a masterpiece. . . . Earthy, whimsical, authoritative, wise; it touches the heart without blushing and traces lasting images for the eye. . . . This book is a gem."—Nick Lyons, Fly-Fisherman
Just as Norman Maclean writes at the end of "A River Runs through It" that he is "haunted by waters," so have readers been haunted by his novella. A retired English professor who began writing fiction at the age of 70, Maclean produced what is now recognized as one of the classic American stories of the twentieth century. Originally published in 1976, A River Runs through It and Other Stories now celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary, marked by this new edition that includes a foreword by Annie Proulx.
Maclean grew up in the western Rocky Mountains in the first decades of the twentieth century. As a young man he worked many summers in logging camps and for the United States Forest Service. The two novellas and short story in this collection are based on his own experiences—the experiences of a young man who found that life was only a step from art in its structures and beauty. The beauty he found was in reality, and so he leaves a careful record of what it was like to work in the woods when it was still a world of horse and hand and foot, without power saws, "cats," or four-wheel drives. Populated with drunks, loggers, card sharks, and whores, and set in the small towns and surrounding trout streams and mountains of western Montana, the stories concern themselves with the complexities of fly fishing, logging, fighting forest fires, playing cribbage, and being a husband, a son, and a father.
By turns raunchy, poignant, caustic, and elegiac, these are superb tales which express, in Maclean's own words, "a little of the love I have for the earth as it goes by." A first offering from a 70-year-old writer, the basis of a top-grossing movie, and the first original fiction published by the University of Chicago Press, A River Runs through It and Other Stories has sold more than a million copies. As Proulx writes in her foreword to this new edition, "In 1990 Norman Maclean died in body, but for hundreds of thousands of readers he will live as long as fish swim and books are made."
It is 1963 in an unnamed town in North Dakota, and Anthony Thrasher is languishing for a second year in eighth grade. Prematurely sophisticated, young Anthony spends too much time reading Joyce, Eliot, and Dylan Thomas but not enough time studying the War of 1812 or obtuse triangles. A tutor is hired, and this "modern Hester Prynne" offers Anthony lessons that ultimately free him from eighth grade and situate her on the cusp of the American sexual revolution. Anthony's restless adolescent voice is perfectly suited to De Vries's blend of erudite wit and silliness—not to mention his fascination with both language and female anatomy—and it propels Slouching Towards Kalamazoo through theological debates and quandaries both dermatological and ethical, while soaring on the De Vriesian hallmark of scrambling conventional wisdom for comic effect.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977), a writer of world renown, grew up in a culturally refined family with diverse interests. Nabokov’s father, Vladimir Dmitrievich (1870–1922), was a distinguished jurist and statesman at the turn of the twentieth century. He was also a great connoisseur and aficionado of literature, painting, theater, and music as well as a passionate butterfly collector, keen chess player, and avid athlete. This book, the first of its kind, examines Vladimir Nabokov’s life and works as impacted by his distinguished father. It demonstrates that V. D. Nabokov exerted the most fundamental influence on his son, making this examination pivotal to understanding the writer’s personality and his world perception, as well as his literary, scholarly, and athletic accomplishments. The book contains never heretofore published archival materials. It is appended with rare articles by Nabokov and his father and is accompanied by old photographs. In addition, the book constitutes a survey of sorts of Russian civilization at the turn of the twentieth century by providing a partial view of the multifaceted picture of Imperial Russia in its twilight hours. The book illumines the historical background, political struggle, juridical battles, and literary and artistic life as well as athletic activities during the epoch, rich in cultural events and fraught with sociopolitical upheavals.
Windy McPherson's Son
Sherwood Anderson University of Illinois Press, 1993 Library of Congress PS3501.N4W49 1993 | Dewey Decimal 813.52
Sherwood Anderson's first and most autobiographical novel and the only one set in Illinois, Windy McPherson's Son received uniformly high praise from literary critics when it was first published. It tells the story of an Iowa newsboy who fights his way to fortune in Chicago, then questions the meaning of his success. It was republished in 1922 with a different ending, which appears as an appendix in this edition.