The author retells the story of his father's life as an adopted child on a Midwestern farm during the Depression, including his difficult relationship with abusive adoptive parents and his successful search for his birthmother
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
The harrowing story of his father's youth on the Minnesota prairie, from novelist Clausen (Ghost Lover, not reviewed). When Clausen's father, Lloyd, died, he left (at his son's request) a rough outline of his life. Clausen pre had mostly been absent during Clausen fils's growing up; he was a cipher, though Dennis did know that Lloyd had had a rotten life as a child. So, using his father's sketch as a starting point, and broadening the story with material gathered from historical societies and newspapers of the time (and his father's few acquaintances), Clausen recreates his father's young manhood. And a sorry story it is. The author tells, in his father's voice, of being adopted by a farm family, not as a cherished member of the clan, but as cheap labor. Throughout the early years, he is ignored (when not being stropped) by his father and routinely tormented and physically abused by his mother. As a young boy, he summarized his life as ``chores, beatings, long hours locked up in the cellar.'' He takes solace in his dogs; feels confusion over the dark car that pulls up to the house when his father is out working in the fields; and is ineffably grateful for the small acts of kindness shown him by neighbors. The family's hard luck is so rudely ever-present, its as though they are the target of some malicious force: harvests go bad, cream is contaminated, the mother's affair is discovered (repeatedly), the hogs get cholera, the bank forecloses. Clausen lightens the tale with evocations of the rural landscape and with the rare sweet charactersuch as the Sanders brothers, who built windmills all day and played their violins at twilight. Sounding an authentic tone, the author steers clear of psychologizing, although his knowing innocence can aggravate. Its almost impossible to finish this chronicle of classic wretchedness without feeling a sudden appreciation for all things decent in ones life. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
When his father was dying of cancer, novelist Clausen (Ghost Lover) suggested that the "impossibly distant" wanderer write his life story to reconcile a life marred by failed relationships. Lloyd Clausen filled three legal pads with a summary of his experiences, which his son spun into this powerfully sentimental narrative of Lloyd's hard-luck coming-of-age on the Minnesota prairie during the Depression. Striving to preserve his father's humble, plainspoken voice, Clausen fashions an "autobiography" that descends too often into bromides and cracker-barrel philosophizing. But not even the press to find lessons behind every anecdote can dilute the undeniable power of Lloyd's tragic story. In many ways, it's an archetypal account of Depression-era hardship: evil bankers extort sexual favors from farmwives, families draw together during hard times. But Lloyd's life was harsher than most. Adopted by a poor farm couple, he suffers through a childhood that is a litany of Dickensian abuse and inhumanity. Banned from the house by day and locked in the cellar while his mother entertained a lover, forced to run the farm while his father played cards or fished, beaten at home and at school, he grows up little more than a beast of burden. His closest emotional attachment is to Buster and Minnie, the farm dogs he considers his "real adoptive parents" and protectors. The heartbreaking frankness with which Clausen relates his father's quest to find his birth mother and establish a place in the wider world elevates this chronicle from mere bathos to something more like a testament to one boy's heroic, if flawed, struggle to maintain his humanity in the face of overwhelming odds.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description Mid-List Press, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110922811393
Book Description Mid-List Press. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0922811393 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1458536