Riding with the Ghost by Justin Taylor


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An acclaimed writer reckons with his relationship with his troubled father—an unflinching memoir in the tradition of Dani Shapiro, Maggie Nelson, and Daniel Mendelsohn

When Justin Taylor was thirty, his father, Larry, drove to the top of an airport parking garage to take his own life. Thanks to the intervention of family members, he was not successful, but the incident would forever transform how Justin thinks of his father, and how he thinks of himself as a son.

Moving back and forth in time from that day, Riding with the Ghost captures the past’s power to shape, strengthen, and distort our visions of ourselves and each other. We see Larry as the middle child in a chilly Long Island family; as a beloved Little League coach who listens to kids with patience and curiosity; as an unemployed father struggling to keep his marriage together while battling long-term illness and depression. At the same time, Taylor explores how the work of confronting a family member’s story forces a reckoning with your own.

With raw intimacy, Riding with the Ghost lays bare the joys and burdens of loving a troubled family member. It’s a memoir about fathers and sons, teachers and students, faith and illness, and the complicated legacy that each generation hands down to the next.

Riding with the Ghost by Justin Taylor
Epilogue BCB