A brilliant father, a complicated legacy, and a son's hard-won journey of self-discovery.
William Matthews was a much-admired, award-winning poet and teacher who lived hard and died suddenly in 1997 at the age of fifty-five. He was a jazz fan, a wit and raconteur, a connoisseur of fine food and wine, and a thrice-married womanizer.
This clear-eyed, often wryly funny memoir pays homage to a charismatic father as the son struggles to step out from his considerable shadow. In examining his father's death (and life), Sebastian Matthews explores his own chaotic past. A child of divorce, he was shuttled throughout his boyhood between parents and many geographies. In a confusing symbiotic time between Bill's marriages, the teenage son and his father "were roommates and drinking buddies―I took care of him; he parented me." Later came the son's wanderings, the failed commitments.
Finally Sebastian learns to confront Bill's mixed legacy. Striving to emulate the best of that "sad, happy man," he discovers new definitions of home, love, and marriage.