Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.

Mother Teresa

 
A Common Pornography

Tác giả: Kevin Sampsell
Thể loại: Non-Fiction
Language: English
Giới thiệu

Kevin Sampsell always thought he was part of a normal family growing up in the Pacific Northwest. He never wondered why his older siblings had different last names or why one of them was black. But when his estranged father passed away in 2008, his mother revealed to him some of the family’s mysterious and unsettling history. A history of betrayal, madness, and incest.

A Common Pornography is a uniquely crafted, two-pronged "memory experiment": a collection of sweet and funny snapshots from his childhood, and an unsensational portrait of a family in crisis. Sampsell blends the catastrophic with the mundane and the humorous with the horrific. From his mother's first tumultuous marriages and his father's shocking abuse of his half sister to Kevin's own memories of first jobs, first bands, and first loves, here is a searing, intensely honest memoir that exposes the many haunting shades of a family—both its tragedy and its resiliency.

From Publishers Weekly

A memoir in collage form, this frank but fragmented narrative chronicles the author's early life in the Pacific Northwest. Told in a series of small pieces, some less than a quarter of a page long, Sampsell follows a stream-of-consciousness series of memories centering loosely around a collection of family secrets unearthed after his father's funeral. Replicating the effects of memory, Sampsell's chronicle begins piecemeal and becomes more detailed as it goes, emphasizing the unfiltered honesty of the story and his efforts to tell it. Though it can be frustrating waiting for the pieces to add up, there's enough bathos, dysfunctional family antics and coming-of-age adventures-naked photoshoots, psychiatric hospitalizations, late-night donut shops and the tri-city New Wave scene-to keep readers turning pages. Sampsell's eye for detail and deadpan delivery envliven a dark personal history with bathos and a powerful desire for understanding.
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From Booklist

Many coming-of-age memoirs depict a journey through hellish abuse. Sampsell’s verbal snapshots capture the more peripheral scene of a kid along for the ride, under the watchful eye of a distant, resentful father—“a humorless, God-fearing bore.” For many who grew up in the 1970s and ’80s, the details of this American life will be familiar: the music, the sports teams, the Jaws-inspired aquaphobia, the release of the hostages from Iran, the mannerist rebellion of New Wave. Other aspects will resonate with males, from the naive cruelty of boys to elaborate strategies built around the acquisition and secretion of dirty magazines, to a candid account of obsession with girls and/or sex that recalls Jeffrey Brown’s tell-all graphic novels. McSweeney’s readers may recall some of these pieces reworked and fleshed out from an earlier chapbook, and while some newer passages (such as those about the abuse and institutionalization of Sampsell’s half-sister) feel arbitrarily chopped into vignettes, mostly the material perfectly fits the form, shards of memory fused into a compelling concretion of moments. A worthy addition to the work of such contemporary memoirists as Nick Flynn, Augusten Burroughs, Dave Eggers, and Stephen Elliott. --David Wright

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