In this week's edition of Endnotes, we take a look at Beckett’s Children (Or, July), a memoir from Michael Coffey, the former co-editorial director of Publishers Weekly. PW praised the book as "a potent and personal reflection on paternity."

Here's how the book came together.

Michael Coffey, Author

“I’ve been writing this book my whole life. That’s why, slim as it is, we’ve called it a memoir. My life as an adoptee, a doomed early marriage, a son in prison, and the search for my identity in the pages of books brought me to the question of an American poet and her own possible father, one Samuel Beckett. The book began to organize itself in the coming dark of the pandemic when, headed out of town, I bought a Faber edition of Eliot’s Four Quartets: ‘Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children.’ I knew what to do—search in the leaves.”

Dale Peck, Acquiring Editor, Evergreen Review Books

“I was surprised by how effectively the imaginative relationship between Beckett and Susan Howe informed Michael’s examination of his relationships with his birth mother and his eldest son. You just don’t expect this kind of literary erudition to be paired with such a richly emotional narrative, but they mesh beautifully.”

Colin Robinson, Publisher, OR Books

“We are so pleased to be working with Evergreen Review on several books, and this latest is a
superb addition to that list. Beckett was close to Barney Rosset, the publisher at Grove, whose memoir we were delighted to publish
back in 2016.”

Laura Lindgren, Designer

“In parallel yet intertwined narratives, Michael reflects on circumstances of not knowing—origins, truth, Beckettian mysteries. To keep the separate voices clear, I chose different typefaces befitting the narratives, from Michael’s reflections on his life and literary analyses to verbatim text dialogues with his son. ”

Debra Pearlman, Cover Artist

“Images of children are central to my work, but they often appear in it obliquely, in off-center ways, revealed and yet obscure. The ‘children of Beckett,’ as Michael’s book shows them to us, are, similarly, both seen and not seen.”