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My Mother's Ghost: Three Autobiographical Essays and a Short Story by [Saylor, Steven]
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My Mother's Ghost: Three Autobiographical Essays and a Short Story Kindle Edition


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Length: 55 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English

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Product Description

Steven Saylor usually writes about people who lived long ago and far away—USA Today calls him “a modern master of historical fiction”—but in these remarkably revealing essays he turns an insightful gaze on his own life, ruminating on his mother’s death, his Texas hometown, and his marriage to another man. These three essays, says Saylor, “may be the closest thing to an autobiography that I’ll ever write.”

Also included is the prize-winning short story “Kinder, Gentler,” a rare piece of autobiographical fiction written when Saylor lived on Castro Street in San Francisco at the height of the AIDS crisis.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 626 KB
  • Print Length: 55 pages
  • Publisher: Roma Sub Rosa Press (27 October 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GCUYINM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,880 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Noted historical novelist succeeds in memoir as well 3 March 2014
By Gregory Sanders - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Steven Saylor describes himself as the least autobiographical of writers. Perhaps that is because, for a writer, he appears to be remarkably well-adjusted. It is hard to imagine how a gay man would write with less rancor about the small Texas town where he grew up in the 1950s and 60s. Mr. Saylor notes without self-pity or resentment, and almost without comment, that his father deserted his mother for a younger woman, leaving her with three small children to raise on her own. If Mr. Saylor ever saw his father again, he does not mention it. Yet his response was not to nurse a bitter, lifelong oedipal grudge. Rather it was to create an ideal father in Gordianus the Finder. (It is rare for a mystery novel to include a scene as moving as the one at the end of “Catilina’s Riddle” where Gordianus elects to join his adopted son in battle.) In the first essay in this volume, Mr. Saylor includes his coming out letter to his mother and her response, which he describes as accommodating if not accepting. She died young before the two of them could achieve a full rapprochement, and yet, one does not feel that he has unfinished business with her. All one feels is his sense of loss.

Those familiar with Mr. Saylor’s early, pseudonymous career will perhaps be as surprised as I was to discover that the third essay in this volume is a love story. Titled “A Marriage Manual,” it is anything but clinical. Mr. Saylor was 19 when he met his partner, the two of them are still together, and they are now married in a de jure, not just de facto sense. This essay is a celebration of domesticity, of traveling together, of furnishing a house, of raising pets, of rescuing those pets from frozen rooftops (a scene that brought a tear to my eye), and eventually of saying goodbye to them. Perhaps Mr. Saylor prefers to write from imagination rather than memory because, for him, fantasy is where his unresolved feelings find expression. The only thing in the real world that he cannot seem to cope with is the one thing none of us can cope with, the fact that life is uncertain, fragile, and transitory. One way to bear this unbearable fact is by escaping into historical fiction where, as Mr. Saylor point outs, the dead can rise again.

The final piece in this volume is an autobiographical short story. As in a roman á clef, the names have been changed, but if you have read the previous three essays, you will pretty much have the key. Here, Mr. Saylor demonstrates that had he chosen to do so, he could have had a career in literary fiction. The minor dramas of a single day are described. Meanwhile, like one of Hemingway’s icebergs, the AIDS virus drifts, silent and sinister, beneath the surface, lending meaning and significance to even the most ordinary, everyday events, e.g., baking muffins for one’s spouse.

Highly recommended in general, but especially so for those who know Mr. Saylor’s other work.
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad I bought it 20 March 2015
By Patricia J. Kussmann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Biographies always seem to add a dimension of thought or a view that is new to me. This biography is no exception. Well written and thought provoking. Glad I bought it.