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A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father

Augusten Burroughs, Author
Augusten Burroughs, Author . St. Martin's $24.95 (242p) ISBN 978-0-312-34202-9
Reviewed on: 03/24/2008
Release date: 04/01/2008
Compact Disc - 8 pages - 978-1-4272-0425-7
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-312-42827-3
Hardcover - 256 pages - 978-0-7535-1369-9
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-7535-2037-6
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4299-3765-8
Paperback - 242 pages - 978-0-7535-1683-6
Hardcover - 242 pages - 978-1-905264-35-3
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A searing, emotional portrait of a son who wants nothing more than the love his father will not grant him, Burroughs's latest memoir (after 2004's Dry ) is indeed powerful. Absent is the wry humor of Running with Scissors and the absurd poignancy of Burroughs's years living with his mother's Svengali-like psychiatrist. Instead, Burroughs focuses on the years he lived both in awe and fear of his philosophy professor father in Amherst, Mass. Despite frequent trips with his mother to escape his father's alcoholic rages, Burroughs was determined to win his father's affection, secretly touching the man's wallet and cigarettes and even going so far as to make a surrogate dad with pillows and discarded clothing. Only after his father's neglect—or cruelty—leads to the death of Burroughs's beloved guinea pig during one of the family's many separations does the son turn against the father. Avoiding self-pity, Burroughs paints his father with unwavering honesty, forcing the reader to confront, as he did, a man who even on his deathbed, refused his son a hint of affection. His father missed so much, Burroughs muses, not knowing his son. Luckily, Burroughs does not deny the reader such an enormous pleasure. (Apr.)

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