Three Memoirs About the Messiness of Life and Self-Definition
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Three Memoirs About the Messiness of Life and Self-Definition

These pages are filled with pathos – a description of his life. Gonslees always chooses to keep the ballast with him, because, as he makes us aware, everything he makes comes at the expense of something else.

To quibble, the masterpiece structure of the memoir speaks for itself so clearly that readers can become impatient when Gonsalez spends time pointing to the book’s form, as if someone is trying to sell you a house you Already living very happily. But Gonsalez writes with an attractive telescoping range. His attention goes to grainy subjects – a childhood picture in one moment, “Napoleon dynamite” in another – as well as big ideas like colonizing influences and, in some of the most high-chord excellent writing in the book, a history burlap.

Because how to tell another life story these days but to run the gamut from personal to communal to systemic? Gonslees’ story feels honest for its detail, and he manages it without sacrificing the intimacy of his strong, personal voice.

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A Memoir of Two Fathers and a Magpie
By Charlie Gilmour
295 pp. Scriper. $ 27.

“Featherhood” is the story of a magpie named Benzene, whom Gilmour and his wife (set designer Janina Peddan, whom she calls Yana) adopted and picked up a story in their London flat, about the story of Gilmour’s biological father Woven together. , The poet Heathcott Williams, and his thoughts developing as Gilmour’s father as he and Peden plan to have a child.

As the animal stories go, “Featherhood” is meritoriously free of schmaltz – Gilmour respects the wildness and rudeness of Benzene’s birdies and has a knack for elegant, visceral fantasy. For example, he described how, in an early moment of care, Pedan crushes the grub head with a pliers to feed the magpies.

He is equally vivid when writing about emotional relationships. His paternal care of Benzene raises questions about why Williams abandoned him as a child, as well as fears about his own potential paternity. Gilmour’s old sense of loss can be seen in excerpts about Williams’ absence, but when the writing shifts to his current, multicultural, mixed family, bird, the scenes are lush with warmth and everyday life. Let us rest.

In the book’s most important anecdote about paternity, Gilmour tells a story Williams told her about a Turkish barber who Williams was sure would cut her throat to steal the maid of her wallet, And the sleet-of-hand trick Williams performed to delight and distract the barber. With this (suspicious) murderous intent. Regarding the story, Gilmour writes: “I wonder if he was inadvertently confessing something about his attitude to me that day: that he had become bloodthirsty, to open it up, and to use magic It was as if a mat uses its cape, distracted and mistaken, to remain untouched. “

On the other hand, Gilmour is fearless in sharing himself with readers. As he works through his relationships, the emotional freight is not always subtle, but it comes from a generosity and openness on his part which, ultimately, makes “Wings” so endearing and inviting. Gilmour does no magic here; He distracts the reader with baubles without any glare. He gives us a man and a bird and tells us, the best he can do, is what they have come to know about the world like he is. He is ready to shed some blood.



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