When his father died, J R Ackerley was shocked to discover that he had led a secret life And after Ackerley himself died, he left a surprise of his ownthis coolly considered, unsparingly honest account of his quest to find out the whole truth about the man who had always eluded him in life But Ackerley s pursuit of his father is also an exploration of the self, making My Father and Myself a pioneering record, at once sexually explicit and emotionally charged, of life as a gay man This witty, sorrowful, and beautiful book is a classic of twentieth century memoir....
|Title||:||My Father and Myself (New York Review Books Classics)|
|Publisher||:||NYRB Classics Revised edition September 30, 1999|
|Number of Pages||:||283 pages|
|File Size||:||787 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
My Father and Myself (New York Review Books Classics) Reviews
My Father and Myself is a memoir published posthumously. In its pages Ackerley outlines his suspicions about his father’s life before marrying his mother.
This is one of the best books I've ever read. I've only just finished reading it for the second time. I'm still in shock and awe. Such a story. Such a candid and engaging chronicle of one man's life and also the life of his father.
The NYRB Classics series pretty much started out with a slew of reprints of the cult writer J.R. Ackerley, including his three memoirs (this, MY DOG TULIP and HINDOO HOLIDAY) and his one novel (WE THINK THE WORLD OF YOU). This, I would say, is easily his finest work. Ackerley's masterful reconstruction of his father's mysterious lovelife (comprising two unwed households and several unexplained longterm "friendships" with wealthy men) and his own conflicted sex life as a gay man in early twentieth-century London. Ackerley's tone always seems extremely honest, and while the narrative never comes to any absolute conclusions about Ackerley's father you're left convinced that these omissions and gaps are meaningful in and of themselves. This is as about a fine and interesting a memoir as I can imagine.
It's a great story - an account of an unusual family. When I first heard of JR Ackerley I was impressed by his brave "outness" and had assumed that his parents' delayed marriage was a similarly brave defiance of social norms in a most constricting era. But I was wrong. Instead they secreted the reality behind a dull ordinariness. Here the author somehow makes amends.
This book came from a recommendation in Vivian Gornick's book, "The Situation and the Story," as an example of an author who establishes and maintains the perfect narrative "distance." This book is very well written. I highly recommend it.
With the author so acclaimed in some circles, I was really surprised that this book is so bad on so many levels. The first requirement of a memoir is that the writer remembers. All too often, Ackerley says that he can not recall key information about a scene that he has set in writing. Even worse, he often times also confesses to not understanding what he meant by his own diaries and notes to which he referred, and therefore excuses his gaps in certain information. The book is poorly written and poorly organized. He fills far too many pages with extraneous information about other familial information that has little or no bearing on his supposed inquiry into his father, and Ackerley's relationship with him. One gets quite tired hearing about his general lack of a love life, and his psychological - pathological requirements in the "Ideal Friend". The final guffaw comes when you read the details of his obsessional love with his dog Tulip, to whom the book is dedicated. If there is any doubt that you had about Ackerley's psychological state as you tread through this book that promised so much and delivered so little, it is more than confirmed when you read the confessional, labeled "Appendix".