“An affecting memoir. . . . Thoughtful and deeply felt . . . an intellectually and emotionally satisfying reading experience.”
Life, Books, Love, and Theater
|Publication date: April 15, 2013 ||978-0-226-01441-8 |
|International publication date: April 26, 2013 ||$20.00/£13.00 |
In 2008 Seth Lerer won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism for his book Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History, from Aesop to Harry Potter. The San Francisco Chronicle called it “magical . . . entertaining and accessible.” The Washington Post called it an “Olympian survey” that “leaves the reader with a stimulating vision of history. . . . His narrative swells and ebbs like a symphony.” Lerer, it was obvious, not only knew children’s books intellectually, but with his heart—knew what it is about them that keeps drawing us in year after year, young and old alike.
Now Lerer is back, this time with a book that, while still concerned with stories and what we make of them, is much more personal. Prospero’s Son is a memoir of family—of fathers and sons, love and learning, forgetting and forgiveness. It tells the story of Lerer’s own father, a teacher and actor who, in his later years, fashioned a new life for himself as a gay man. It also relates Lerer’s own transformation from a reader of children’s books to a scholar of them, and from being a restless son to being a troubled father himself. Throughout, Lerer never loses sight of the central role of stories in our lives—of the books we read; the lessons we draw (and those we wish they could supply); the beautiful, seductive, and at times even malign influence they have over the wandering paths of our ever-uncharted lives.
Meditative and beautifully wrought, rich in emotion but given balance by contemplation, Prospero’s Son is a one-of-a-kind memoir, an unforgettable story of growth, change, love, and learning.
Seth Lerer is dean of arts and humanities at the University of California, San Diego and the author of many books, including Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History, from Aesop to Harry Potter.
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