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MY FATHER, THE PORNOGRAPHER

Chris Offutt

  • Original Title: MY FATHER, THE PORNOGRAPHER
  • Publication date: February 2016
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Country: US
  • 272 print pages
  • Factual/Memoirs

Information

  • Epoch: Historical
  • Time Period: 20th century
  • Location setting: United States
  • Themes: FAMILY, Heritage, Paternity, Family secrets, Filiation, Mourning, PEOPLE facing life, Looking back on one's life, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Social climbing, LOVE / HATE, Sex, Dysfunctional family, Resilience, Facing failure, Commitment

Pitch

After inheriting 400 novels of pornography written by his father in the 1970s and ‘80s, Chris Offutt sets out to make sense of his complicated father-son relationship.

Comments

Selected as one of PW’s best nonfiction books of 2016
Selected as one of Amazon’s Best Books of 2016.

This memoir written in spare prose by a critically acclaimed author about unconventional fatherhood has more to it than meets the eye.

"A literary detective story interwoven with memories of a youth riddled with sexual confusion and inarticulate yearning. . . . There is a touching universality to his tale and its mix of longing and despair. In the end, the value of this haunting account lies in Offutt's refusal to find a pat moral in his journey."--The Washington Post

"One of the most sensitive, nuanced examinations of father and son relationships I've read."--Boston Globe

Christopher John "Chris" Offutt is most widely known for his short stories and novels, but he has also published two memoirs and nonfiction articles. He has written episodes for the TV series True Blood and Weeds. In 1996, he was named one of the twenty best young American fiction writers by Granta magazine.

Summary

Andrew Offutt was considered the "king of twentieth-century smut," with a writing career that began as a strategy to pay for his son's orthodontic needs and soon took on a life of its own, peaking during the 1970s when the commercial popularity of the erotic novel reached its height. With his dutiful wife serving as typist, Andrew wrote from their home in the Kentucky hills, locked away in an office no one dared intrude upon. In this fashion he wrote more than four hundred novels, including pirate porn, ghost porn, zombie porn, and secret agent porn. The more he wrote, the more intense his ambition became and the more difficult it was for his children to be part of his world.

Over the long summer of 2013, his son, Chris, returned to his hometown to help his now widowed mother move out of his childhood home. As he began to examine his father's manuscripts and memorabilia, journals, and letters, he realized he finally had an opportunity to gain insight into the difficult, mercurial, sometimes cruel man he'd loved and feared in equal measure. Only in his father's absence could he truly make sense of the man and his legacy.

Report available.

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  • Author’s biography

    Christopher John "Chris" Offutt (born in 1958) is an American writer. He is most widely known for his short stories and novels, but he has also published two memoirs and nonfiction articles. In 2005, he had a story included in a comic book collection edited by Michael Chabon, and another in the anthology Noir. He has written episodes for the TV series True Blood and Weeds. His most recent book, a memoir called MY FATHER, THE PORNOGRAPHER, was selected as one of PW’s best nonfiction books of 2016 as well as one of Amazon’s Best Books of 2016. In 1996 Offutt was named one of the twenty best young American fiction writers by Granta magazine.