Truth Comes in Blows
By (author) Ted Solotaroff
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Truth Comes in Blows by Ted Solotaroff
Book DescriptionPlanted between Ted and a normal boyhood was Ben Solotaroff, as hard a father to placate, defy, and finally accept as can be found in the annals of the American memoir. Tough, bullying, seductive, Ben Solotaroff was a self-made man-"almost all ego and almost no conscience"-who made a success of his glass business and a wasteland of his home life. Against a crystalline view of American life in the 1930s and '40s, Truth Comes in Blows places its classic themes-the ambivalent love of a son for his victimized mother, the romance of post-immigrant Jews with middle America, sports and masculinity, the guilty imperatives of breaking away-and renews them with a candor Philip Roth praised as "not only a literary achievement but a considerable moral achievement as well." A reading group guide is bound into the paperback.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780393320503
(211mm x 140mm x 20mm)
Imprint: WW Norton & Co
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Publish Date: 21-Jun-2000
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Ted Solotaroff
First Loves, Paperback (January 2004)» View all books by Ted Solotaroff
Carries forward the narative begun in the widely-praised Truth Comes in Blows. Where that book was a portrait of Solotaroff's relationship with his father, First Loves is a portrait of a marriage that is perhaps unique in its unremitting candour.
US Kirkus Review » Written with both thoughtfulness and elan, this is a Jewish intellectual's remembrance of coming of age during the Depression, WWII, and the immediate post-war period. Editor and critic Solotaroff (A Few Good Voices in My Head: Occasional Pieces on Writing, Editing, and Reading My Contemporaries, 1987, etc.) focuses largely on his relationship with his parents: his father, a hypercritical, domineering man who often is "oblivious to other people's feelings," and his mother, an emotionally supportive but mostly passive woman whose behavior usually is characterized by "scatteredness and dependency." He also writes about his slow transformation from an unruly, sometimes delinquent adolescent to a young man with serious intellectual inclinations. With its many fine passages on competition and friendships with other boys, and on men, sports, curiosity about sexual dalliances with women, and military service, Solotaroff's book expresses a vigorous masculine sensibility. As for his Jewishness, it's considerably less important than his Americanness and is found more in family dynamics than in religious observance or even ethnic solidarity. Thus, Solotaroff observes that, for him at the time, WWII and the Holocaust were "as existentially remote as a movie." His well-crafted book, which is just the right length, contains such piquant passages as this about service in the postwar navy, which was "an abrupt immersion in the working class, in its crudity and cruelty, its noise, crowdedness, and stinks, its narrowness and dullness. Also, in its modes of adeptness, shrewdness, perseverance, its gregariousness and laughter, its loyalty and courage." Having traveled with Solotaroff through the first two decades or so of his sometimes difficult and often very colorful life, readers will eagerly await a sequel. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Ted Solotaroff
Ted Solotaroff lives in East Quogue, Long Island, and in Paris
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