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

Algonquin Books
17
Free sample

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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Reviews

3.7
17 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Algonquin Books
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Published on
Apr 15, 2008
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Pages
227
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ISBN
9781565126350
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Family & Relationships / Abuse / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Alan Cumming
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In his unique and engaging voice, the acclaimed actor of stage and screen shares the emotional story of his complicated relationship with his father and the deeply buried family secrets that shaped his life and career.

A beloved star of stage, television, and film—“one of the most fun people in show business” (Time magazine)—Alan Cumming is a successful artist whose diversity and fearlessness is unparalleled. His success masks a painful childhood growing up under the heavy rule of an emotionally and physically abusive father—a relationship that tormented him long into adulthood.

When television producers in the UK approached him to appear on a popular celebrity genealogy show in 2010, Alan enthusiastically agreed. He hoped the show would solve a family mystery involving his maternal grandfather, a celebrated WWII hero who disappeared in the Far East. But as the truth of his family ancestors revealed itself, Alan learned far more than he bargained for about himself, his past, and his own father.

With ribald humor, wit, and incredible insight, Alan seamlessly moves back and forth in time, integrating stories from his childhood in Scotland and his experiences today as a film, television, and theater star. At times suspenseful, deeply moving, and wickedly funny, Not My Father’s Son will make readers laugh even as it breaks their hearts.

Diane Keaton
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
Janet Maslin, The New York Times • People • Vogue
 
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
—Financial Times • Chicago Sun-Times
The Independent • Bookreporter
The Sunday Business Post

Mom loved adages, quotes, slogans. There were always little reminders pasted on the kitchen wall. For example, the word THINK. I found THINK thumbtacked on a bulletin board in her darkroom. I saw it Scotch-taped on a pencil box she’d collaged. I even found a pamphlet titled THINK on her bedside table. Mom liked to THINK.
 
So begins Diane Keaton’s unforgettable memoir about her mother and herself. In it you will meet the woman known to tens of millions as Annie Hall, but you will also meet, and fall in love with, her mother, the loving, complicated, always-thinking Dorothy Hall. To write about herself, Diane realized she had to write about her mother, too, and how their bond came to define both their lives. In a remarkable act of creation, Diane not only reveals herself to us, she also lets us meet in intimate detail her mother. Over the course of her life, Dorothy kept eighty-five journals—literally thousands of pages—in which she wrote about her marriage, her children, and, most probingly, herself. Dorothy also recorded memorable stories about Diane’s grandparents. Diane has sorted through these pages to paint an unflinching portrait of her mother—a woman restless with intellectual and creative energy, struggling to find an outlet for her talents—as well as her entire family, recounting a story that spans four generations and nearly a hundred years.
 
More than the autobiography of a legendary actress, Then Again is a book about a very American family with very American dreams. Diane will remind you of yourself, and her bonds with her family will remind you of your own relationships with those you love the most.
 
Look for special features inside. Join the Circle for author chats and more.
Robert Goolrick
“A heart-wrenching, beautiful, darkly comic, deeply necessary tale that stuns again and again with razor-sharp prose and glittering wit. Robert Goolrick is, without question, one of the greatest storytellers of our time.” —Téa Obreht, author of The Tiger’s Wife
 
In the spellbinding new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Robert Goolrick, 1980s Manhattan shimmers like the mirage it was, as money, power, and invincibility seduce a group of young Wall Street turks. Together they reach the pinnacle, achieving the kind of wealth that grants them access to anything--and anyone. Until, one by one, they fall.

Goolrick’s literary chops are on full display, painting an authentic portrait of a hedonistic era, tense and stylish, perfectly mixing adrenaline and melancholy. Stunning in its acute observations about great wealth and its absence, and deeply moving in its depiction of the ways in which these men learn to cope with both extremes, it’s a true tour de force.
 
“An addictive slice of semiautobiographical fiction . . . Goolrick vividly plumbs the depths of fortune and regret. The result is a compulsively readable examination of the highs and lows of life in the big city.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“A compelling, wholly seductive narrative voice . . . Goolrick’s stellar prose infuses this redemption story with a good deal of depth and despair, making it read like the literary version of The Wolf of Wall Street.” —Booklist
 
“A dark, intoxicating morality tale . . . With his impeccable prose, Goolrick focuses his unflinching eye on the grittiness beneath the sleek facade of nightclubs, fashion, and monied Manhattan extravagance. Beautifully crafted, seductive, and provocative.” —Garth Stein, author of A Sudden Light and The Art of Racing in the Rain
Robert Goolrick
“A heart-wrenching, beautiful, darkly comic, deeply necessary tale that stuns again and again with razor-sharp prose and glittering wit. Robert Goolrick is, without question, one of the greatest storytellers of our time.” —Téa Obreht, author of The Tiger’s Wife
 
In the spellbinding new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Robert Goolrick, 1980s Manhattan shimmers like the mirage it was, as money, power, and invincibility seduce a group of young Wall Street turks. Together they reach the pinnacle, achieving the kind of wealth that grants them access to anything--and anyone. Until, one by one, they fall.

Goolrick’s literary chops are on full display, painting an authentic portrait of a hedonistic era, tense and stylish, perfectly mixing adrenaline and melancholy. Stunning in its acute observations about great wealth and its absence, and deeply moving in its depiction of the ways in which these men learn to cope with both extremes, it’s a true tour de force.
 
“An addictive slice of semiautobiographical fiction . . . Goolrick vividly plumbs the depths of fortune and regret. The result is a compulsively readable examination of the highs and lows of life in the big city.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“A compelling, wholly seductive narrative voice . . . Goolrick’s stellar prose infuses this redemption story with a good deal of depth and despair, making it read like the literary version of The Wolf of Wall Street.” —Booklist
 
“A dark, intoxicating morality tale . . . With his impeccable prose, Goolrick focuses his unflinching eye on the grittiness beneath the sleek facade of nightclubs, fashion, and monied Manhattan extravagance. Beautifully crafted, seductive, and provocative.” —Garth Stein, author of A Sudden Light and The Art of Racing in the Rain
Robert Goolrick
From the author of the bestselling A Reliable Wife comes a dramatic, passionate tale of a glamorous Southern debutante who marries for money and ultimately suffers for love—the literary love-child of William Faulkner and Dominick Dunne.

It begins with a house and ends in ashes . . .

Diana Cooke was "born with the century" and came of age just after World War I. The daughter of Virginia gentry, she knew early that her parents had only one asset, besides her famous beauty: their stately house, Saratoga, the largest in the commonwealth, which has hosted the crème of society and Hollywood royalty. Though they are land-rich, the Cookes do not have the means to sustain the estate. Without a wealthy husband, Diana will lose the mansion that has been the heart and soul of her family for five generations.

The mysterious Captain Copperton is an outsider with no bloodline but plenty of cash. Seeing the ravishing nineteen-year-old Diana for the first time, he’s determined to have her. Diana knows that marrying him would make the Cookes solvent and ensure that Saratoga will always be theirs. Yet Copperton is cruel as well as vulgar; while she admires his money, she cannot abide him. Carrying the weight of Saratoga and generations of Cookes on her shoulders, she ultimately succumbs to duty, sacrificing everything, including love.

Luckily for Diana, fate intervenes. Her union with Copperton is brief and gives her a son she adores. But when her handsome, charming Ashton, now grown, returns to Saratoga with his college roommate, the real scandal and tragedy begins.

Reveling in the secrets, mores, and society of twentieth-century genteel Southern life, The Dying of the Light is a romance, a melodrama, and a cautionary tale told with the grandeur and sweep of an epic Hollywood classic.

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