Nobody's Son: A Memoir by Mark SloukaNobody's Son: A Memoir by Mark Slouka

Nobody's Son: A Memoir

byMark Slouka

Hardcover | October 25, 2016

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about

Born in Czechoslovakia, Mark Slouka’s parents survived the Nazis only to have to escape the Communist purges after the war. Smuggled out of their own country, the newlyweds joined a tide of refugees moving from Innsbruck to Sydney to New York, dragging with them a history of blood and betrayal that their son would be born into.

From World War I to the present, Slouka pieces together a remarkable story of refugees and war, displacement and denial—admitting into evidence memories, dreams, stories, the lies we inherit, and the lies we tell—in an attempt to reach his mother, the enigmatic figure at the center of the labyrinth. Her story, the revelation of her life-long burden and the forty-year love affair that might have saved her, shows the way out of the maze.

Mark Slouka’s most recent books are the story collection All That Is Left Is All That Matters, the memoir Nobody’s Son, and the award-winning novel Brewster. His work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Essays, and the PEN / O. Henry Prize Stories. He lives in Prague.
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Title:Nobody's Son: A MemoirFormat:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 8.57 × 5.8 × 0.93 inPublished:October 25, 2016Publisher:WW NortonLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0393292304

ISBN - 13:9780393292305

Reviews

Editorial Reviews

[Slouka’s] thoughtful and erudite reflections deepen the narrative and infuse it with compassion. . . . With the rich prose of a novel, [Nobody’s Son] is a story about escapes: Slouka’s parents escaping from Communist brutality, his father escaping from the oppression of marriage, his mother escaping from the conflict within and the author, seeking refuge the only way he knows how, escaping through words. — New York Times Book ReviewThis soul-searching study of memory and pain is . . . absolutely mesmerizing to read. — Boston Globe, Pick of the WeekA beautifully written memoir which is as much about the wiles of memory as it is about Slouka’s family history. . . . With love and compassion, Slouka bravely excavates the pain and straightens the pictures on the walls of his chamber of memories. — Washington PostAt times brutally honest, at others sweetly mournful . . .With starkly vivid imagery and an elegiac, dreamlike cadence, Slouka conveys the precariousness of a childhood spent never knowing what aspect of his mother’s volatile personality he’d have to confront nor understanding what precipitated her mercurial rages. Slouka has admirably covered these themes in his novels, but, as always, fiction pales compared to reality. — Carol Haggas (Booklist)‘Pinned like Ahab to his whale,’ Mark Slouka sets out to confront his own leviathan—a past of violent upheaval and existential terror, a childhood eclipsed by his mother’s madness. In his quiver: memories both sacred and flawed; hope, the thing without a GPS; resolve, the kind born of desperation; and love. The last will hit the mark. A brilliant memoir. — Kathryn HarrisonSlouka’s previous writing has shown that he has both a hard skeptical brain and a huge questing heart. Nobody’s Son is the book of his life, in both senses: he sings it like Bach throwing his baton, a mature master engaged, enamored, enraged. — Brian HallThis singular memoir reverberates with obstinate, refreshing candor. Mark Slouka demonstrates powerfully the ways that memory is a function of imagination. — Phillip Lopate