The Inventors

Hawthorne Bks. & Literary Arts. Apr. 2016. 352p. ISBN 9780989360470. pap. $18.95. MEMOIR
OrangeReviewStarSelgin's (Life Goes to the Movies; Drowning Lessons) memoir debut focuses on the two men—the author's father and his eighth-grade English teacher—who had the most impact on his life. In telling the story of his relationships with these individuals, he uncovers not only what they hid from him and most other people in their lives, but unravels what people keep hidden from themselves. Short interludes are interspersed throughout; some tell fablelike stories that enhance the larger narrative, but just as often Selgin uses them to delve into the matter of how we narrate our lives, how impossible it really is to remember the past, how blending fiction and nonfiction often leads to a more believable version of the truth. As such, readers might wonder about the veracity of Selgin's story. Are we being told "the truth" or a version of the truth, and is there a difference?
VERDICT A remarkable model of the art of the memoir, this book will satisfy all readers. Highly recommended.

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