April A-to-Z: must-read books
A Wolf at the Table (2008)
By Augusten Burroughs
This is a memoir concerning a father-son relationship. How odd then, the cover image: a fork, curled like a claw, bathed in red light. And the peculiar mood at the outset. A reader is inclined to think they’ve stumbled on a werewolf tale. I was skeptical at first, that this was genuine autobiography.
But of course there are men of extreme personalities in the world, and why shouldn’t some of them have been fathers? And why wouldn’t the son of such a man, growing up in strange circumstances, be inclined toward the inwardness, escape and contemplation which would serve him in, and propel him toward, the art of writing.
This book was deeply compelling as it triggered much empathy in me, and it’s conclusion, so subtle but so powerful.
This book is a must-read for anyone who can shed a tear for another, and be grateful for that.
I pulled on the hem of his jacket, his sleeve. I grabbed his cold fingers and yanked them. I said, “Pick me up, pick me up!” Melting snow fell from his cap onto my neck and slid down my back, and this made me screech and laugh and jump in place. My father winced and complained, “Hush, that sound hurts my ears.”
“Pick me up!” He never did but I said it anyway.
“Damn it son, please.”
“I backed away, still fidgeting and twitching with excitement. “Okay,” I said, and allowed him to walk into the house unmolested. Was he heading for the kitchen? Or the living room? I ran ahead of him, tearing across the floor. I made it to his destination long before he did. I hopped in place, up and down, up and down. I just could not stand it!
Finally, when he reached the kitchen or the dining room table, I hugged him. And then those arms of his slid down between us, prying me away.
It made me giggle. “You’re tickling me!” I shouted.
I always managed to hang on a little bit longer.
I always won!
It was our game and I loved it. Me against the armsandhands to get to him, his solid core part, the middle, the him.