A new dad strives to connect with the father he barely knew, through family lore, a small box of mementos and the investigations they inspire.
Fletcher was raised by a single mother who imparted to her son a sense of curiosity and ritual by filling their New Mexico home with found objects, historical artifacts and folk art. Having stashed away all of her husband’s possessions, upon his death just before Fletcher’s second birthday, she unwittingly impelled her son to seek out and savor every possible sliver of insight into his familial roots. In his debut, Fletcher excavates his paternal origins through unearthed letters, uncaptioned old photos and fresh understanding borne of road trips to his father’s old haunts. The author’s patchwork sense of heritage and identity is mirrored in the unconventional structure of his writing, with poetic swaths of dialogue, emotion and imagery anchored by edifying, journalistic prose. “For most of my life, my father has been this to me: a silver-haired snapshot, a tarnished ashtray, a broken sword, and a jumble of anecdotes doled out by my mother to the five of us children,” he writes. Fletcher constructs an intimate amalgam of brutally honest personal moments, vivid dreams and reverently elicited recollections from his father’s contemporaries. An homage not only to his dad but to Harrison's own boyhood joys, sorrows and searching, the book makes clear the author’s expansive literary sensibilities.
A candid, intricate, painstakingly pieced-together family album.