First Scribner hardcover edition.
310 pages ; 24 cm
"The fifth of eight children, Chris Forhan was born into a family of silence. His mother and father often sat in the same room but exchanged no words. He and his siblings learned, without being told, that certain thoughts and feelings were not to be shared. On the evenings his father didn't come home, the rest of the family would eat dinner without him, his whereabouts unknown, his absence pronounced but unspoken. And on a cold night just before Christmas 1973, long after dinner, the rest of the family asleep, Forhan's father killed himself in the garage--a new silence. Forty years later, Chris speaks into the quiet his father left behind, digging into his family's past and finding within each generation the same abandonment, loss, and silence in which he was raised. Like Ian Frazier in Family or Philip Roth in American Pastoral, Forhan shows his family as both a part and a product of its time. My Father Before Me is a family history, an investigation into a death, and a stirring portrait of an Irish Catholic childhood, all set against a backdrop of America from the Great Depression to Elvis Costello. Lucidly and unflinchingly, Forhan attempts to understand his father and ultimately himself in order to avoid passing his family's silence on to his children. To separate this silence from the introversion that inspires him as a writer, he courageously confronts it, telling the story that his family will not tell, and piecing together the fragments of the life that his father chose to leave"--Provided by publisher.
Part I: A father's son -- Part II: Asleep at the post -- Part III: Empty plate -- Part IV: A voice in the air -- Part V: Silence and song.
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