This revelation leads to a flood of new questions. Did his father abandon this first family, or was he pushed away? Still reeling from loss, Boast is forced to reconsider the fundamental truths of his childhood and to look for traces of the man his father might truly have been. Setting out in search of his half brothers, he attempts to reconcile their family history with his own, testing each childhood memory under the weight of his father's secret. Moving between the Midwest and England, from scenes of his youth to the tentative discovery of his new family, Boast writes with visceral beauty about grief, memory, and his slow and tender journey to a new kind of love.
With the piercing gaze of a novelist, Boast transforms the pain and confusion of his family history into an achingly poignant portrait of resilience, revising the stories he's inherited to refashion both his past and his present. Heartbreaking and luminous, Epilogue is the stunning account of a young man's struggle to understand all that he has lost and found, and to forge a new life for himself along the way.
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Piecing together a father's hidden story
In most biographies, an epilogue provides the story of what happens after the subject of the book has died or somehow left the scene. It’s a wrapping up, a life-after-life afterthought.
Will Boast, whose Power Ballads: Stories (2011) won the Iowa Short Fiction Award, cannily reverses this usual order by turning the epilogue into the entire story of his life until now. In Epilogue: A Memoir, Boast plunges into the depths of his own heart to probe the ragged mysteries that bring families together, hold them up through the years and cause them to fall apart.
Having already lost his younger brother to an auto accident and his mother to cancer, Boast, at 24, loses his father to complications of alcoholism. Muddling through his father’s papers, seeking consolation in women and wine and generally wondering what life will bring next, Boast stumbles upon secrets his parents had kept from him. He learns that his father had been married, with two sons, before he met and married Boast’s mother. As he attempts to get to know his half-brothers in England, he contemplates the light that these new relationships can shed on the truths of his own childhood, and he imagines rewriting his own family story.
Absorbing and agonizing at the same time, Boast’s narrative refuses to cover raw wounds, instead leaving them open to the fresh breezes of love and renewal that blow into his life after his father’s death.