Actors, Parents, Children, Captives: Memoir Previews, Jan. 2021, Pt. 4 | Prepub Alert

Gabriel Byrne and Cicely Tyson reflect on life and acting, while Emily Rapp Black, Justine Cowan, Charlie Gilmour, and Liz Tichenor discuss parents and children. 

Black, Emily Rapp. Sanctuary: A Memoir. Random. Jan. 2021. 224p. ISBN 9780525510949. $28. MEMOIR

Byrne, Gabriel. Walking with Ghosts. Grove. Jan. 2021. NAp. ISBN cover of Gilmour's Featherhood9780802157126. $26. MEMOIR

Cowan, Justine. The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames. Harper. Jan. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780062991010. $27.99. MEMOIR

Gilmour, Charlie. Featherhood: A Memoir of Two Fathers and a Magpie. Scribner. Jan. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781501198502. $27. MEMOIR

Padnos, Theo. Blindfold: A Memoir of Capture, Torture, and Enlightenment. Scribner. Jan. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781982120825. $27. POLITICS/MEMOIR

Owusu, Nadia. Aftershocks: A Memoir. S. & S. Jan. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781982111229. $26. MEMOIR

Smith, Bevy. Bevelations: Lessons from a Mutha, Auntie, Bestie. Andie Cohen: Macmillan. Jan. 2021. 240p. ISBN 9781250311788. $24.99. MEMOIR

Tichenor, Liz. The Night Lake: A Young Priest Maps the Topography of Grief. Jan. 2021. 304p. ISBN 781640094062. $26. MEMOIR

Tyson, Cicely. Just As I Am. HarperCollins. Jan. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9780062931061. $28.99. lrg. prnt. CD. MEMOIR

Author of the New York Times best-selling The Still Point of the Turning World, about parenting terminally ill son Ronan, Black uses Sanctuary to reconsider the concept of resilience, for which she was roundly praised when she rebuilt her life—another husband, another child, a booming career—after Ronan died. In Walking with Ghosts, celebrated actor Byrne recalls his formative first 12 years in a large Dublin family, interspersed with career highlights from acting opposite Richard Burton to winning a Golden Globe. As related in The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames, Cowan learned after her mother died that she had been raised in London’s Foundling Hospital, a brutal institution that originated solitary confinement even as it helped create important cultural institutions (40,000-copy first printing). Abandoned young by his eccentric poet father and adopted by his stepfather, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Gilmour bonded with a magpie he rescued (named Benzene for its glistening black feathers). With Featherhood he relates his subsequent emersion in a poem his biological father wrote about effecting a similar rescue and explains what Benzene taught him about parenting (60,000-copy first printing). In Blindfold, award-winning journalist Padnos relates what it's like to be kidnapped and tortured in Syria by al Qaeda for two years; originally scheduled for July 2020. In Aftershocks, Whiting Award winner Owusu limns a crisscrossed coming-of-age (she moved from Rome and London to Dar-es-Salaam, Kampala, and finally the United States for college) and subsequent assured sense of self; originally scheduled for May 2020. Fashion and beauty editor at Vibe, then Rolling Stone, the high-powered Smith collapsed in tears one day and, as Bevelations explains, completely remade her life (75,000-copy first printing). Tichenor’s The Night Lake explains that as a young Episcopal priest, she had to learn how to integrate into her vocation twin tragedies: the death of her five-week-old son less than a year after her alcoholic mother’s suicide. Tony Award winner, three-time Emmy Award winner, the first black woman to win an honorary Oscar, and the first black woman to host Saturday Night Live: Tyson has some story to tell in Just As I Am.

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Book Review; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president of the National Book Critics Circle, to which she has just been reelected.

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