My Father's Tears
And Other StoriesBook - 2009 | 1st ed.
"Personal Archaeology" considers life as a sequence of half-buried layers, and "The Full Glass" distills a lifetime's happiness into one brimming moment of an old man's bedtime routine. High-school class reunions, in "The Walk with Elizanne" and "The Road Home," restore their hero to youth's commonwealth where, as the narrator of the title story confides, "the self I value is stored, however infrequently I check on its condition." Exotic locales encountered in the journeys of adulthood include Morocco, Florida, Spain, Italy, and India. The territory of childhood, with its fundamental, formative mysteries, is explored in "The Guardians," "The Laughter of the Gods," and "Kinderszenen." Love's fumblings among the bourgeoisie yield the tart comedy of "Free," "Delicate Wives," "The Apparition," and "Outage."
In sum, American experience from the Depression to the aftermath of 9/11 finds reflection in these glittering pieces of observation, remembrance, and imagination.
From the critics
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Even his doctors and financial advisers, the caretakers of his old age, were increasingly difficult to reach, hiding behind a screen of recorded messages and secretaries whose hurried, immigrant accents were difficult for Fairchild to decipher. If a heart attack or a catastrophic downturn in the market were to overtake him, he would be left clutching the telephone while shimmering streams of Vivaldi or, even more insultingly, soupy instrumental arrangements of old Beatles standards filled the interminable wait for the next available service representative.
He dug up six or so fragments; the delicate porcelain cup, gilt-rimmed, had been dropped or broken, perhaps by a child who in fright and guilt had buried the evidence in a shrub border. The quality of the cup suggested one of the early eras, perhaps the near-mythical first. Ceramic, unlike metal or wood, is impervious to time and moisture. But the earth, freezing and thawing in its annual cycle, can at last push up to the surface what the culprit thought had been safely buried and forever hidden.
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