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  • Published: 21 October 2020
  • ISBN: 9780593129296
  • Imprint: Random House USA
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $44.99

Riding with the Ghost

A Memoir



An acclaimed writer reckons with his relationship with his troubled father--an unflinching memoir in the tradition of Dani Shapiro, Maggie Nelson, and Daniel Mendelsohn

When Justin Taylor was thirty, his father, Larry, drove to the top of an airport parking garage to take his own life. Thanks to the intervention of family members, he was not successful, but the incident would forever transform how Justin thinks of his father, and how he thinks of himself as a son.

Moving back and forth in time from that day, Riding with the Ghost captures the past's power to shape, strengthen, and distort our visions of ourselves and each other. We see Larry as the middle child in a chilly Long Island family; as a beloved Little League coach who listens to kids with patience and curiosity; as an unemployed father struggling to keep his marriage together while battling long-term illness and depression. At the same time, Taylor explores how the work of confronting a family member's story forces a reckoning with your own.

With raw intimacy, Riding with the Ghost lays bare the joys and burdens of loving a troubled family member. It's a memoir about fathers and sons, teachers and students, faith and illness, and the complicated legacy that each generation hands down to the next.

  • Published: 21 October 2020
  • ISBN: 9780593129296
  • Imprint: Random House USA
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $44.99

Praise for Riding with the Ghost

“Justin Taylor’s relentless, peripatetic, and tender search for reconciliation with his late troubled father blooms into a full-throated song of joy about his own life lived through music, teaching, travel, and literature. Riding with the Ghost is gorgeously layered and deeply felt.”—Lauren Groff, author of Florida “An atmospheric, openhearted memoir of great range and ambition. Like his literary hero Denis Johnson, Taylor fearlessly swings from the gutter to the stars and back again in this precisely observed meditation on love and loss.”—Jenny Offill, author of Weather “In propulsive readable prose, Justin Taylor does something that most people would find impossible: He delves through grief and trauma to find the true story of his own troubled, brilliant father, and to trace the ways that his father’s influence shaped and warped his life and his family. Without being at all polemical, Riding with the Ghost has much to teach us about masculinity, patriarchy, and family in America.”—Emily Gould, author of Perfect Tunes “From the East Coast to the West Coast to the Gulf Coast, Riding with the Ghost is a classic American road narrative, an intimate portrait of a father, the story of an artist’s coming-of-age, a statement of faith, and a requiem for all those who have touched our lives yet left too soon. Justin Taylor is a master storyteller, and his voice resounds.”—Sarah Gerard, author of True Love

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