From Scarsdale: A Childhood (Signed Copy)

From Scarsdale: A Childhood
About This Copy
Signed Copy?: 
Availability & Cost
SKU: 9781628975482S
Primary Author: 
Dan O' Brien
Binding Type: 
Dalkey Archive Press
From Scarsdale is an evocative and lyrical memoir of a haunted childhood in Scarsdale, New

With a cancer diagnosis in his early forties, the author is compelled to revisit and resolve
the mystery of his family's sadness. The fourth of six children in an Irish-American household
distinctly out-of-place in this affluent suburb of New York City, O'Brien grows up in a
claustrophobic milieu of secrecy, lies, and mental illness. The turning point in his maturation is
an older brother's attempted suicide -- an event he witnesses firsthand.

From Scarsdale traces
with sensitivity the complex histories and dynamics that lead to this trauma, as O'Brien
investigates the psychologies of his parents, themselves the survivors of painful childhoods in
Scarsdale. Then, simultaneously disturbed and catalyzed by his brother's depression, and his
own developing obsessive-compulsive disorder, the adolescent O'Brien discovers literature and
the theatre as an escape, though it will take years for an actual liberation to occur. In many
ways this memoir is that liberation, as his ambition here has been to tell "the story of who I am
and where I'm from, with honesty, insight, and something like forgiveness. To try to leave the
old place behind."

With the specificity and aching affection of William Maxwell's Ancestors, and the
impressionistic, mosaic-like structure of Michael Ondaatje's Running in the Family, this book's
subject is ultimately, like all memoir, the solace and the conundrum of memory. From Scarsdale
is a rare book, uniquely told, and a poignant example of the redemptive power of a true story.

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