Then Skyhorse pulls a neat switch.
- Take This Man: A Memoir?
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Thirty years later, Skyhorse does indeed track down the biological father who abandoned him, but in the intervening years he understands that the absent Father is unrecoverable, a cipher for meaning perpetually deferred. Not that storytelling is a bad thing. Who among us could maintain tonal control when our mother, unwilling to bathe, spritzes her nether parts with Lysol? The implication, like the phone sex, is disturbing. Contemporary memoir usually turns on epiphany. We expect insight that changes the author forever.
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We, too, believe in change, which is why we love memoirs. It deserves to become a classic. But this writer truly survived being held hostage, raised by wolves.
Their cruelty to their biographer was audacious, calculated and thrilling to read. Stories molested him and nourished him. Whatever else they did to him, when he escaped he knew how to tell a story, and this is one hell of story. Take This Man is a funny and harrowing and touching portrait of the abyss in families between what we know we should do and how our hearts lead us to behave.
This is a miraculous memoir from a spectacularly talented writer. Brando Skyhorse has made art out of the chaos of his own extraordinary family history, and, in so doing, has raised the bar, not only for memoirists, but for us all. Skyhorses's shifting identity creates an intense quest for meaning, a kind of whodunit memoir that explores the sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, often absurd, and always fascinating childhood that the author, no matter his lineage, has no choice but to claim as his own.
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Why this man became a hermit at 20
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