A writer explores his complicated relationship with his depressed father, whose failed suicide attempt and lonely death four years later has left him haunted and altered his thinking about fatherhood and what it means to be a son.
Taylor’s memoir is an admirable quest to answer a question that, for many children of parents who struggle against darkness, is almost unanswerable. 'How do you save a drowning man who doesn’t want a life preserver?' ... There are stretches where Taylor leans too hard into the minutiae of academic life, and life in general—not just the size of a Brooklyn apartment, but also the total number of units in the building. He’s a profound thinker, however, comfortable struggling with the Big Questions. And at times it’s not clear where he’s going or wants to go ... But Taylor is an intelligent writer, sure of his voice ... a story told with heart and deep self-reflection, steeped in philosophy and questions about faith.
A writer grapples with the legacy of his father’s depression and his own shadow self in this lucid memoir of connection, family, and loss ... riveting ... Though the subject matter is weighty and knotty, Taylor’s approach is light; he has a knack for unobtrusive description ... This is an astute and balanced memoir that finds grace in appreciating another’s pain.
His father’s isn’t the only ghost with whom he must come to terms, and there’s plenty of additional insightful observations about the stories we tell ourselves and the differences between the way we shape a story and the way we live our lives. A greater literary achievement than Taylor’s impressive fiction.