cover image Epilogue: A Memoir

Epilogue: A Memoir

Will Boast. Norton/Liveright, $29.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-87140-381-0

Family tragedy leads to almost unbearable darkness but also renewal and hope for a young man in this excellent memoir. Boast (Power Ballads) was in college when his mother died of cancer, his younger brother Rory was killed in a car crash, and his father succumbed suddenly to a booze-assisted perforated ulcer. Then, sifting through documents in the family’s Wisconsin home, he discovered that his father had a secret second family in England; he had two older half-brothers whom he’d never met. He connected with them to explore the mystery of his past—and to reinsert himself into it. Boast writes with unsparing clarity, in precisely observed domestic scenes that reveal mountains of unspoken feeling, of the grief his family endured—his father’s final lonely year is a heart-breaking tableau of anguish—and of the disorientation of a life that felt like a “tacked-on epilogue that went pointlessly on and on.” His narrative unfolds as a counterpoint between the culture of the American middle class and the warm, sometimes claustrophobic culture of his English relatives as he tries, hesitantly and awkwardly, to embrace them. The result is a finely wrought, wrenching yet lyrical study of a family that lives on past its seeming end. (Sept.)