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A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father Kindle Edition
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"As a little boy, I had a dream that my father had taken me to the woods where there was a dead body. He buried it and told me I must never tell. It was the only thing we'd ever done together as father and son, and I promised not to tell. But unlike most dreams, the memory of this one never left me. And sometimes…I wasn't altogether sure about one thing: was it just a dream?"
When Augusten Burroughs was small, his father was a shadowy presence in his life: a form on the stairs, a cough from the basement, a silent figure smoking a cigarette in the dark. As Augusten grew older, something sinister within his father began to unfurl. Something dark and secretive that could not be named.
Betrayal after shocking betrayal ensued, and Augusten's childhood was over. The kind of father he wanted didn't exist for him. This father was distant, aloof, uninterested…
And then the "games" began.
With A Wolf at the Table, Augusten Burroughs makes a quantum leap into untapped emotional terrain: the radical pendulum swing between love and hate, the unspeakably terrifying relationship between father and son. Told with scorching honesty and penetrating insight, it is a story for anyone who has ever longed for unconditional love from a parent. Though harrowing and brutal, A Wolf at the Table will ultimately leave you buoyed with the profound joy of simply being alive. It's a memoir of stunning psychological cruelty and the redemptive power of hope.
--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
"Shocking and terrifyingly thrilling, hooks the reader immediately."--"The Washington Post"
"An infinitely darker work than the author's previous takes on family dysfunction. Before his mother sent him to live with the loony shrink he immortalized in "Running With Scissors," Burroughs was a kid at the mercy of a father he believes was a sociopath. . . . Burrough's famous humor is mostly absent from this account, yet "Wolf "is not a grim book. How did he survive? . . . Writing--luckily for him and us--helped save him."--"People," A four-star "People "Pick
"With his new book, Burroughs breaks our hearts. Big time . . . "A Wolf at the Table "skillfully reminds us that the past never goes away. It's in our blood."--"Rocky Mountain News "(A)
"Whether your childhood was a fairy tale or a horror story, you'll be engrossed. . . . Even fans of previous work will be shocked by this story, the first chapter of a remarkable life."--"Parade
"A searing, emotional portrait of a son who wants nothing more than the love his father will not grant him, Burroughs's latest memoir is indeed powerful."--"Publishers Weekly," Starred Review
"As the pre-eminent writer of family dysfunction, Burroughs makes a convincing new case for the common heartbreak of distance between fathers and sons."--"St. Louis Post-Dispatch"
"Intense, sincere, and passionate, Burroughs offers a deeply felt, intimate portrait of the most disastrous period in his life. He holds nothing back, and in fully giving voice to his emotions, he makes each moment immediate for the listener." - "AudioFile"
"In audiobook form, Burroughs's memoir is an unforgettable experience that will resonate with many." - "Library Journal," Starred Review
..".There are books that were born for bells and whistles, and Augusten Burrough's "Wolf at the Table "is one. This fifth memoir of abuse and excess is read, bleated, rumbled and, at times, tearfully shouted by the author himself. The audio book includes sound effects and occasional instrumental music, and it breaks new ground by presenting four songs written expressly for the productions. There is one each from Patti Smith, Ingrid Michaelson, Sea Wolf and Tegan Quin." - "Washington Post"
"I felt that because this book is different than anything I have written before, it deserved a very unique, special treatment and production.""--"Augusten Burroughs on "A Wolf at the Table"
"I wanted an audiobook for the iPod generation - for people who love books but also love music and film. I wanted to bring the book to life as fully as possible.""--"Augusten Burroughs on "A Wolf at the Table" in "Publishers Weekly"
"Bestselling author Burroughs has written a brutally frank memoir about his father - his difficult, distant, miserable father - which he reads himself, effectively. Original music by Patti Smith, Sea Wolf, Ingrid Michaelson and Tegan Quin - composed for this audiobook - graces the final CD." - "Canada.com"
Past Praise for Augusten Burroughs:
"A flawless audio adaptation of his alternately riotous and heartbreaking memoir." --Publishers Weekly on Running with Scissors
"[Burroughs's] performance blends self-deprecating black humor with wise-cracking confidence. His natural (or hard-learned) wit and charm keep the listener rooting for his success." --AudioFile on Dry--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B0011UGLH4
- Publisher : St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (April 29, 2008)
- Publication date : April 29, 2008
- Language : English
- File size : 1910 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 278 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #417,089 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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What I took away from this and also from Running With Scissors is that growing up in an academic family might not be what it is all cracked up to be in the public perception (I say this coming from the same perspective).
Perhaps we expect professors to be perfect or to not have come from troubled backgrounds. Perhaps we are misled in thinking that professors are not flawed beings, because so many are. Burroughs had a difficult upbringing, but Wolf at the Table paints a fairly balanced portrait of his father and of Burroughs' childhood wants that weren't fulfilled and of some of the potential reasons why Burroughs' father's upbringing may have contributed to a brilliant professor who was not able to demonstrate love for his family.
You try to imagine how Augusten survives with a father like this, a mentally-ill mother, and an older brother, John Elder, who rarely appears but who tortured young Augusten when they lived together as brothers, a boy who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, giving him little empathy for his fellow humans.
Well, he manages to come out scarred, but whole. He's an amazing survivor, and his writing records everything--every smell, every taste, every sound, every sight. He appears to have a photographic memory. His book will awaken your senses and keep you on edge all the way through. I read it in one sitting--like Running with Scissors, I couldn't put it down. Unlike Running with Scissors, there are no laughs in this book. But if you are strong enough emotionally to handle a heartbreaking story, masterfully written, go ahead and let yourself experience part of the life of a boy who grew up with utter insanity all around him and to his great relief, it didn't rub off--he's a decent, strong human being with an amazing ability to communicate and laugh.
Here's a hug for you Augusten Burroughs. May you love and be loved.
Top reviews from other countries
I have children, and I have to say I have been a little kinder since I read this book. It is told so well from the child's perspective, how being too tired, too old and too bored can seem to your kid. I wanted to fix it for Augusten in a way I didn't with the other books, and am only glad I read some of his essays to know that he seems to be OK now.
So to summarise, not a laugh a minute, but gripping and worth reading.
Grief stuck in the chest, painful and pressing. This is the hardest of all his books to read; the ending feels almost unbearably painful, and very familiar.