The End of the World as We Know It: Scenes from a Life

Available

Product Details

Price
$19.99
Publisher
Algonquin Books
Publish Date
Pages
225
Dimensions
5.4 X 0.9 X 8.2 inches | 0.6 pounds
Language
English
Type
Paperback
EAN/UPC
9781565126022
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

In addition to his most recent novel, The Fall of Princes, Robert Goolrick is the author of three other books: The End of the World as We Know It, a memoir; his first novel, A Reliable Wife, with sales of more than 1 million copies; and his second novel, Heading Out to Wonderful. He lives in Virginia.

Reviews

" A devastating debut memoir about a Southern childhood. A simple summary of the storyline of this memoir might inspire an eye-roll: Do we really need another tale about someone growing up in a South of days-gone-by, surrounded by eccentric relatives and neighbors, with a little alcoholism and incest thrown in for good measure? But Goolrick takes that tired scenario and makes it magical. He recounts a Virginia childhood worthy of William Styron and Flannery O'Connor. The deformed weirdos, a staple of Southern grotesque, are here, including severely retarded aunt Dodo, who one day asked young Robert to kiss her passionately.  Here, too, are cocktail parties that would have inspired Douglas Sirk: Goolrick describes the lavish fetes his parents threw, the lovely chiffon dresses his mother wore.  But something was off-kilter, at even the grandest parties.  The chiffon dresses always wound up with cigarette burns, and the hectic entertaining was artifice and pretense, a frantic effort to cover up alcoholism and other, more hideous, family secrets.  The author interweaves scenes from his childhood with scenes from his adult life: his mother's attempt to get dry, his own breakdown and drinking problem, his mother's death. One of the most gripping and emotionally insightful passages is of his father's funeral, where Goolrick makes clear how hard it is to bury a man you haven't forgiven. The language is lush and poetic while never becoming purple. Goolrick is clearly a victim of his parents' brutal abuse, but he has broken out of the categories of 'victim' and 'survivor' to become a powerful truth-teller."
" A moving, unflinchingly rendered story of how the past can haunt a life."
-- Publishers Weekly
"[An] unnerving, elegantly crafted memoir. . . . Morbidly funny."--Entertainment Weekly
"A gifted writer['s]...memorable account of his terribly flawed family. ...Searing...It stays with you."--USA Today
"Goolrick adeptly uses a slow, teasing way of revealing himself to the reader...Anecdotes of captivating vitality...."The End of the World As We Know It" is barbed and canny, with a sharp eye for the infliction of pain."--"The New York Times"
"In this brutally painful remembrance of hard drinking, attempted suicide, and childhood trauma, first-time author Goolrick constructs a well-written, nonlinear narrative of his life...Goolrick's memory of the details of his childhood is impressive, as is the deep sense of sorrow...the story evokes. A courageous and successful work."--"People"
"A devastating debut memoir about a Southern childhood. A simple summary of the storyline of this memoir might inspire an eye-roll: Do we really need another tale about someone growing up in a South of days-gone-by, surrounded by eccentric relatives and neighbors, with a little alcoholism and incest thrown in for good measure? But Goolrick takes that tired scenario and makes it magical. He recounts a Virginia childhood worthy of William Styron and Flannery O'Connor. The deformed weirdos, a staple of Southern grotesque, are here, including severely retarded aunt Dodo, who one day asked young Robert to kiss her passionately. Here, too, are cocktail parties that would have inspired Douglas Sirk: Goolrick describes the lavish fetes his parents threw, the lovely chiffon dresses his mother wore. But something was off-kilter, at even the grandest parties. The chiffon dresses always wound up with cigarette burns, and the hectic entertaining was artifice and pretense, a frantic effort to cover up alcoholism and other, more hideous, family secrets. The author interweaves scenes from his childhood with scenes from his adult life: his mother's attempt to get dry, his own breakdown and drinking problem, his mother's death. One of the most gripping and emotionally insightful passages is of his father's funeral, where Goolrick makes clear how hard it is to bury a man you haven't forgiven. The language is lush and poetic while never becoming purple. Goolrick is clearly a victim of his parents' brutal abuse, but he has broken out of the categories of 'victim' and 'survivor' to become a powerful truth-teller."
--"Kirkus Reviews," starred review
"A moving, unflinchingly rendered story of how the past can haunt a life."
--Publishers Weekly