By Geoffrey Wolff
With those interwoven autobiographical essays, Geoffrey Wolff, writer of the acclaimed The Duke of Deception, recounts the ethical (and immoral) schooling of a author, good friend, husband, and father, as he bargains his lively, dependent, and deeply felt observations on a rare existence: from wildly dysfunctional youth Christmases to a concupiscent occupation educating literature in Istanbul; from a victory over the chaos of drink to a life-affirming quit to the majesty of the Matterhorn; and from a foundering friendship to the transcending love of family.
He stocks with us, then, the knowledge of an alert guy studying throughout the unsettling collisions of time, position, and native customized, and during the strength of difficulty and risk, to deliver his many disparate selves jointly -- with extraordinary high-stakes candor and astounding literary agility.
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Additional resources for A Day at the Beach: Recollections
4 It was during these early years that Mom became interested in an expanded faith. She sought further spiritual fulfillment in addition to the liturgical traditions of the Catholic Church. In Wasilla, she volunteered as a secretary at the Presbyterian church on weekends and traveled to northern Alaska Eskimo villages on mission trips. At about that time, her best friend, Mary Ellan Moe, a newly transplanted Texan, invited her to attend an evangelical church in Anchorage. There Mom found a depth of spirituality she had been seeking, the filling of what the French writer Blaise Pascal called “the god-shaped vacuum” in every human heart.
Party bosses weren’t going to let me forget that I had broken their Eleventh Commandment—“Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican”—even if Murkowski did have a 19 percent approval rating, his chief of staff would later plead guilty to a felony charge, and it appeared corruption was growing at a breakneck pace. I didn’t have time to waste embracing the status quo and never had it in me to play the party’s game. That just meant I’d have to work harder, advancing the state not on the currency of traded favors but on the strength of ideas that proved themselves good for the people.
My siblings were better athletes, cuter and more sociable than I, and the only thing they had to envy about me was the special passion for reading that I shared with our mother, who we all thought ranked somewhere up there with the female saints. When the VFW announced that I won a plaque in its annual flag poetry contest for my third-grade poem about Betsy Ross, Mom treated me like the new Emily Dickinson. Years later, when I won that patriotic group’s annual college scholarship, she was just as proud.
A Day at the Beach: Recollections by Geoffrey Wolff