A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father

A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father

Augusten Burroughs

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0312428278

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Nominated for the 2009 Audiobook of the Year

"As a little boy, I had a dream that my father had taken me to the woods where there was a dead body. He buried it and told me I must never tell. It was the only thing we'd ever done together as father and son, and I promised not to tell. But unlike most dreams, the memory of this one never left me. And sometimes…I wasn't altogether sure about one thing: was it just a dream?"

When Augusten Burroughs was small, his father was a shadowy presence in his life: a form on the stairs, a cough from the basement, a silent figure smoking a cigarette in the dark. As Augusten grew older, something sinister within his father began to unfurl. Something dark and secretive that could not be named.

Betrayal after shocking betrayal ensued, and Augusten's childhood was over. The kind of father he wanted didn't exist for him. This father was distant, aloof, uninterested…

And then the "games" began.

With A Wolf at the Table, Augusten Burroughs makes a quantum leap into untapped emotional terrain: the radical pendulum swing between love and hate, the unspeakably terrifying relationship between father and son. Told with scorching honesty and penetrating insight, it is a story for anyone who has ever longed for unconditional love from a parent. Though harrowing and brutal, A Wolf at the Table will ultimately leave you buoyed with the profound joy of simply being alive. It's a memoir of stunning psychological cruelty and the redemptive power of hope.

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Hyacinthe’s home, an L-shaped one-level ranch just outside town. Peter and I played in the backyard among the skunk cabbage plants that grew in the wetlands behind the house. There were so many cabbages we were compelled to pick them and invent games. One of us would be the shopkeeper, the other the customer. A cabbage cost five round flat stones. We had a wealth of something we didn’t want, but the wealth itself was intoxicating and we invented games just so we could experience the sensation of

sandwiches that my mother had made. Our fingers were wet, which made the bread soggy and fall apart in our hands. Cucumber slices slipped out, landed on the rubber floor of the little boat. “These are good,” Greg said. “I know.” Cucumber sandwiches on white bread with mayonnaise—this was the taste of summer, like biting into the actual day itself. We tossed the bread crusts overboard for the low-flying birds and saw the flickering shadows of their wings play across the ripples of our lazy wake.

your arms above your head like you were diving and you aimed true for the waves, wouldn’t you experience perfect freedom? That the body would land broken on the rocks below didn’t matter, because you wouldn’t be there for the landing. So you would experience only that single moment of clean, pure freedom and grace. But then, that would be it. There would be no chance to remember that feeling and strive, for the rest of your life, to feel it again. Or to surpass it. Or to pull somebody aside and

they each contained their own beating heart. I endured three, four rings, and then the operator picked up. I asked for the number for the Amherst police department. And then I dialed it very carefully, so that I didn’t make a mistake and have to start over. In the middle of the number I realized I should have just called 911 but it was too late now, I couldn’t start over. The police answered immediately. There was too much breath behind my words and I couldn’t focus. “My father just called

nature. On a page all by itself he wrote, “Augusten very distant tonight. Probably because of my games.” EPILOGUE I AM ON a book tour. In each city I am greeted by a media escort who picks me up at the airport and drives me to radio stations for interviews, the reading venue, back to the hotel in the evening. I am in Boston for two days. My escort’s name is Ginny and I’m fond of her. It has been a long tour and the herniated disks in my back have made it difficult. A number of times I remind

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