My Father, the Pornographer Summary and Reviews

My Father, the Pornographer

A Memoir

by Chris Offutt

My Father, the Pornographer by Chris Offutt X
My Father, the Pornographer by Chris Offutt
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2016
    272 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

After inheriting 400 novels of pornography written by his father in the 1970s and '80s, critically acclaimed author Chris Offutt sets out to make sense of a complicated father-son relationship in this carefully observed, beautifully written memoir.

"Clearing Dad's office felt like prospecting within his brain. As I sorted, like an archaeologist, backward through time, I saw a remarkable mind at work, a life lived on its own terms."

When Andrew Offutt died, his son, Chris, inherited a desk, a rifle, and 1800 pounds of porn. Andrew had been considered the "king of twentieth century smut," a career that began as a strategy to pay for his son's orthodontic needs and soon took on a life of its own, peaking during the '70s when the commercial popularity of the erotic novel was at its height.

With his dutiful wife serving as typist, Andrew wrote from their home in the Kentucky hills, locked away in an office no one dared intrude upon. In this fashion he wrote 400 novels, ranging from pirate porn and ghost porn, to historical porn and time travel porn, to secret agent porn and zombie porn. The more he wrote, the more intense his ambition became, and the more difficult it was for his children to penetrate his world.

Over one long summer in his hometown, helping his mother move out of the house, Chris began to examine his deceased father's possessions and realized he finally had an opportunity to come to grips with the mercurial man he always feared but never understood. Offutt takes us on the journey with him, showing us how only in his father's absence could he truly make sense of the man and his legacy. This riveting, evocatively told memoir of a deeply complex father-son relationship proves again why the New York Times Book Review said, "Offut's obvious kin are Richard Ford, Tobias Wolff, and Ernest Hemingway."

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This is a frank, clear-eyed, but subtle memoir that works through raw emotion to arrive at an empathetic understanding of what fractures and binds families." - Publishers Weekly

"Though his relationship with his father was distant, melancholic, and precarious, Offutt quite movingly weaves his personal history into a fascinating tapestry of a compulsive writer with a knack for the naughty." - Kirkus

"A heartbreaking tale about identity, overcoming fear, and forgiving someone more committed to his craft than his family." - Booklist

"Chris Offutt owns one of the finest, surest prose styles around, ready and able to convey the hardest truth without flinching." - Michael Chabon

"Direct, forceful, and completely unsentimental, this book goes on the short shelf of our best literature about fathers and sons." - Ann Packer, author of The Children's Crusade

"My Father the Pornographer is a brave, engaging, dangerous piece of work. An uncompromising examination of a writer's life, it raises questions both complex and haunting. Offutt is truly naked on the page, revealing his father's secret obsessions, and his own.  I am lost in admiration for what he has done." - Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina

"With My Father, the Pornographer, Chris imparts many rich and hard-won lessons to his lucky readers. This is a memoir that's not only insightful but also funny, harrowing, and searingly honest." - Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times Bestselling Author

"The death of Chris Offutt's father left him with what amounted to a secret estate that redefined his family - and Chris himself. Only a writer of Offutt's caliber could transform that experience into this heartbreaking triumph. This is a must-read, an unforgettable and entirely original story." - Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night

"With gripping precision, Chris Offutt tracks the hidden life of his brilliant, cruel and narcissistic father. My Father, the Pornographer is a son's reckoning not only with a parent's dark, often shocking secrets but with their human cost. This is an utterly absorbing and heartbreaking book." - Honor Moore, author of The Bishop's Daughter

This information about My Father, the Pornographer shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Chris Offutt Author Biography

Chris Offutt is the author of the short-story collections Kentucky Straight and Out of the Woods, the novel The Good Brother, and three memoirs: The Same River Twice, No Heroes, and My Father, the Pornographer. His work has appeared in Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays, among many other places. He has written screenplays for Weeds, True Blood, and Treme, and has received fellowships from the Lannan and Guggenheim foundations.

Link to Chris Offutt's Website

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