Donald Antrim - The Afterlife

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Books Reviews Donald Antrim
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Donald Antrim - The Afterlife

Mommy!

New Yorker contributor and absurdist novelist Donald Antrim goes hard at the worst kind of reality in this charged 208-page memoir. Antrim means to pull a black thorn of pain stuck forever in his heart—his abrasive, alcoholic mother raised him and a younger sister with the familiar ugly baggage found on the Bourbon Express. Fear. Resentment. That hoarse crow of guilt perched forever on the morning windowsill.

Antrim unscrolls the hurt, page after page. Those readers who wake up every day with mother gone and no earthly means left to make things right, connect or heal, will surely leap at the writer’s courage as he painfully tells his own tale and, of course, universally maps similar voyages through such sad nightmares.

Thankfully, not all of us must make this journey. Readers with more or less stable mothers and fairly clean adolescent nests may somehow feel—uncomfortably reading these pages—more voyeur than voyager.

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