The End of the World as We Know It: Scenes from a Life

Algonquin Books

It was the 1950s, a time of calm, a time when all things were new and everything seemed possible. A few years before, a noble war had been won, and now life had returned to normal.

For one little boy, however, life had become anything but "normal."

To all appearances, he and his family lived an almost idyllic life. The father was a respected professor, the mother a witty and elegant lady, someone everyone loved. They were parents to three bright, smiling children: two boys and a girl. They lived on a sunny street in a small college town nestled neatly in a leafy valley. They gave parties, hosted picnics, went to church—just like their neighbors. To all appearances, their life seemed ideal. But it was, in fact, all appearances.

Lineage, tradition, making the right impression—these were matters of great importance, especially to the mother. But behind the facade this family had created lurked secrets so dark, so painful for this one little boy, that his life would never be the same.

It is through the eyes of that boy—a grown man now, revisiting that time—that we see this seemingly serene world and watch as it slowly comes completely and irrevocably undone.

Beautifully written, often humorous, sometimes sweet, ultimately shocking, this is a son's story of looking back with both love and anger at the parents who gave him life and then robbed him of it, who created his world and then destroyed it.

As author Lee Smith, who knew this world and this family, observed, "Alcohol may be the real villain in this pain-permeated, exquisitely written memoir of childhood—but it is also filled with absolutely dead-on social commentary of this very particular time and place. A brave, haunting, riveting book."
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About the author

In addition to his most recent novel, The Fall of Princes, Robert Goolrick is the author of three other books: The End of the World as We Know It, a memoir; his first novel, A Reliable Wife, with sales of more than 1 million copies; and his second novel, Heading Out to Wonderful. He lives in Virginia.

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5 total

Additional Information

Algonquin Books
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Published on
Apr 15, 2008
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Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Family & Relationships / Abuse / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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„Mein Vater starb, weil er zuviel trank. Sechs Jahre zuvor war meine Mutter gestorben, weil sie zuviel getrunken hatte. Ich trank zuviel. Der Apfel fällt nicht sehr weit vom Stamm.“

In Robert Goolricks Familie gab es ein ungeschriebenes Gesetzt: Sprich niemals mit jemand Fremdem über die Familie, zeige niemals auch nur den kleinsten Riss in der Fassade. In »Das Ende der Welt, wie wir sie kennen« nimmt uns der Autor mit auf eine Reise in die vermeintlich idyllische Welt seiner Kindheit. Seine Eltern, der Vater Professor an einem College, die Mutter charmante Gastgeberin, hatten ein behagliches Heim geschaffen, wo sich Verwandte und Freunde trafen. Eine Welt der Cocktails, unterhaltsamen Gespräche und schicken Kleider – eine Welt, hinter der sich der Alkoholismus der Eltern verbarg. Die Erinnerungen seiner Kindheit lassen Goolrick nicht los, denn sie bergen eine Geheimnis, das sein gesamtes Handeln und Fühlen als Erwachsener bestimmt. Ein Geheimnis so ungeheuerlich, dass es droht, sein ganzes Leben zu zerstören.

Mit unglaublicher Ehrlichkeit, messerscharf, klug und bei aller Verletzlichkeit doch komisch blickt Robert Goolrick zurück auf sein Elternhaus, auf seine Mutter und seinen Vater, die die Welt seiner Kindheit schufen und zugleich vernichteten. Und auf sein Leben als Erwachsener, geprägt von der verzweifelten Suche nach Liebe, nur um sie in dem Moment, wo sie ihm begegnet, von sich zu stoßen. Sein tief beschädigtes Ego treibt ihn bis an den Rand der Selbstzerstörung. Aber er findet die Kraft zu überleben. Ein mutiges Buch, schonungslos in seiner Offenheit und zutiefst anrührend in seiner Menschlichkeit.

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