Publication Date: September 19, 2023
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A poignant memoir of love, trauma, and recovery after a life-changing stroke, twinned to a powerful account of his father's experience in World War II, by a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.
“A beautiful, compelling memoir . . . Raban’s final work is a gorgeous achievement.” —Ian McEwan, New York Times best-selling author of Lessons
In June 2011, just days before his sixty-ninth birthday, Jonathan Raban was sitting down to dinner with his daughter when he found he couldn’t move his knife to his plate. Later that night, at the hospital, doctors confirmed what all had suspected: that he had suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke, paralyzing the right side of his body. Once he became stable, Raban embarked on an extended stay at a rehabilitation center, where he became acquainted with, and struggled to accept, the limitations of his new body—learning again how to walk and climb stairs, attempting to bathe and dress himself, and rethinking how to write and even read.
Woven into these pages is an account of a second battle, one that his own father faced in the trenches during World War II. With intimate letters that his parents exchanged at the time, Raban places the budding love of two young people within the tumultuous landscape of the war’s various theaters, from blood-soaked streets in Anzio to the munition-strewn beaches of Dunkirk. Moving between narratives, his and theirs, Raban artfully explores the human capacity to adapt to trauma, as well as the warmth, strength, and humor that persist despite it. The result is Father and Son, a powerful story of mourning, but also one of resilience.
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