Illinois

I just finished the loveliest memoir.

Lee Martin tells the story of his southern Illinois boyhood with a steady and loving voice, a voice I think I’d recognize anywhere.  I can hear the telephone ring in that farmhouse of 50 years ago.  I can feel the gentle and angry steel of his father’s artificial hands, how cold they are, how awkward and wanting.  The tenderness of his mother’s fear and affections.  The tension of what it feels like to desire a home you can never, not really, return to.  The complicated love between a father and son.

This is one of those books, one of those stories, that makes me want to stand up and say, Bravo.

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12 thoughts on “Illinois

  1. macdougalstreetbaby

    I was listening to NPR the other day and Mike Nichols was on, speaking about his latest production of DEATH OF A SALESMAN. He said, “…the father/son relationship is at the heart of most Americans.” Do you think that’s true?

      1. LauraMaylene

        Agreed — the mother/daughter relationship is just as much “at the heart” as father/son relationships would be.

  2. CJ

    This past weekend my husband and I attended the Los Angeles Times Book Festival. One of the panels was Memoir: The Ties That Bind, moderated by Samantha Dunn. The authors were Benjamin Busch, Alexandra Styron, Claire Bidwell-Smith & Mark Whitaker. It was by far the best panel we attended.

    Mr. Martin’s blog looks very helpful.

  3. Lyra

    In one paragraph, you make me want to read a book. Every time. So when the time comes, you don’t mind writing my one-minute pitch, do you? No? Great, thanks!

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