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In this "dazzling" (John Irving) memoir, acclaimed New Yorker staff writer Tad Friend reflects on the pressures of middle age, exploring his relationship with his dying father as he raises two children of his own. "How often does a memoir build to a stomach-churning, I-can't-breathe climax in its final pages? . . . Brilliant, intensely moving."-William Finnegan, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Barbarian DaysAlmost everyone yearns to know their parents more thoroughly before they die, to solve some of those lifelong mysteries. Maybe, just maybe, those answers will help you live your own life. But life doesn't stop to wait. In his fifties, New Yorker writer Tad Friend is grappling with being a husband and a father as he tries to grasp who he is as a son. Torn between two families, he careens between two stages in life. On some days he feels vigorous, on the brink of greatness when he plays tournament squash. On others, he feels distinctly weary, troubled by his distance from millennial sensibilities or by his own face in the mirror, by a grimace that's so like his father's.His father, an erudite historian and the former president of Swarthmore College, has long been gregarious and charming with strangers yet cerebral with his children. Tad writes that "trying to reach him always felt like ice fishing." Yet now Tad's father, known to his family as Day, seems concerned chiefly with the flavor of ice cream in his bowl and, when pushed, interested only in reconsidering his view of Franklin Roosevelt.Then Tad finds his father's journal, a trove of passionate confessions that reveals a man entirely different from the exasperatingly logical father Day was so determined to be. It turns out that Tad has been self-destructing in the same way Day has-a secret each has kept from everyone, even themselves. These discoveries make Tad reconsider his own role, as a father, as a husband, and as a son. But is it too late for both of them?Witty, searching, and profound, In the Early Times is an enduring meditation on the shifting tides of memory and the unsteady pillars on which every family rests.
Find yourself in the midst of a heated battle over a sitcom laugh track. Learn to get away with spectacular crimes. Get lost with the reindeer people in the mountains of Mongolia. In Lost in Mongolia a collection of Tad Friend''s most original, witty, and wide-ranging articles and essays from The New Yorker, Esquire, and Outside we are taken on a cultural tour of global proportions. Friend reports from the entertainment mecca of Hollywood on topics that range from the life and death of River Phoenix to the widespread plagiarism of movie ideas, to why celebrity profiles are always dreadful. He critiques the larger American culture with articles such as White Trash Nation, In Praise of Middlebrow, and a brief rumination on what it means when your girlfriend steals and wears your favorite shirt. Readers will also journey to foreign lands and American outposts, as Friend goes on the trail of the Marcos dynasty in the Philippines, is harassed in Morocco, and digs up buried treasure in Sun Valley.Lost in Mongolia is a one-of-a-kind collection from a refreshingly candid and well-traveled journalist.