Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Afterlife

The Afterlife

A Memoir

Donald Antrim

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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From "a fiercely intelligent writer" (The New York Times), a wry, poignant story of the difficult love between a mother and a son

In the winter of 2000, shortly after his mother's death from cancer and malnourishment, Donald Antrim, author of the absurdist, visionary masterworks Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World, The Hundred Brothers, and The Verificationist, began writing about his family. In pieces that appeared in The New Yorker and were anthologized in Best American Essays, Antrim explored
his intense and complicated relationships with his mother, Louanne, an artist and teacher who was, at her worst, a ferociously destabilized and destabilizing alcoholic; his gentle grandfather, who lived in the mountains of North Carolina and who always hoped to save his daughter from herself; and his father, who married Louanne twice.

The Afterlife is not a temporally linear coming-of-age memoir; instead, Antrim follows a logic of unconscious life, of dreams and memories, of fantasies and psychoses, the way in which the world of the alcoholic becomes a sleepless, atemporal world. In it, he comes to terms with—and fails to comes to terms with—the nature of addiction and the broken states of loneliness, shame, and loss that remain beyond his power to fully repair. This is a tender and even blackly hilarious portrait of a family—faulty, cracked, enraging. It is also the story of the way the author works, in part through writing this book, to become a man more fully alive to himself and to others, a man capable of a life in which he may never learn, or ever hope to know, the nature of his origins.

EXCERPT

The Afterlife

PART I




My mother, Louanne Antrim, died on a fine Saturday morning in the month of August, in the year 2000. She was lying in new purple sheets on a hospital-style bed rolled up next to the...

Reviews

Praise for The Afterlife

The Afterlife is like nothing else. With tenderness, humor, and insight, Donald Antrim evokes the volatile atmosphere of the home that he and his sister shared with mother Louanne. . . . Should be required reading for everyone who has been haunted by the restless ghosts of those they love most.” —Francine Prose, People

“The book is very funny when it wants to be, but in between it is rueful. . . . It's Antrim's best book so far. - Joan Acocella, The New York Review of Books” —Joan Acocella, The New York Review of Books

“A memoir glimmering with hard-won beauty and alive with meaning.” —Newsday

“An unsettling yet exhilarating read.” —USA Today

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Donald Antrim

DONALD ANTRIM is the author of Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World, The Hundred Brothers, and The Verificationist. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. He lives in New York City.

Donald Antrim

Ulrike Schamoni

Donald Antrim

Read a profile of the author in the New York Times

From the Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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