A Common Pornography: A Memoir by Kevin Sampsell

By Kevin Sampsell

“For attractiveness, honesty, sheer weirdness, and a haunting evocation of position, Kevin Sampsell is my favourite Oregon author. Ken Kesey, Chuck Palahniuk—make a few room at the shelf.”—Sean Wilsey, writer of Oh the consideration of it All

Kevin Sampsell’s A universal Pornography is a memoir, instructed in vignettes, that captures the heritage of 1 dysfunctional American relations. An extension of a 2003 “memory experiment” of an identical identify, A universal Pornography weaves reminiscences of small-town adolescence with darker threads from his family’s tale, together with incest, insanity, betrayal, and demise. a typical contributor to Dave Egger’s The Believer and McSweeney’s, Sampsell has written “the type of booklet the place you need to thank the writer for assisting you are feeling much less by myself with being alive” (Jonathan Ames, writer of Wake Up, Sir! and The Double lifestyles is two times as Good).

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They will have you riding a red tricycle and wearing a silly hat before too long. I dialed, a little fearfully. The woman is mad at me a lot. I make her mad, being me. The boy never is. I walk in the door, and the boy never looks disappointed in me. CHAPTER ONE In a Cloud of Smoke MAN, I WISH I COULD HAVE SEEN HIM. They say he was slick and pretty in ’55, and when he leaned against his black-and-pearl ’49 Mercury in his white Palm Beach suit and cherry-red necktie, he looked like he got lost on his way to someplace special and pulled off here to ask the way.

They belonged together, light and dark, I once believed. As the clock inched toward noon and the sun flushed out every dark corner of my world, he stood gun-barrel straight and stone sober beside my uncles, cousins and the other men. There would have been hangover in his eyes and in the tremble of his hands around his cigarette, but it wasn’t anything a little taste of liquor wouldn’t heal, once he had shaken free of his wife and kids like a man slipping out of a set of too-tight Sunday clothes.

But she was, or we would have vanished. I walked into the heat of the morning to my truck and drove through the town that had framed our story for a hundred years, past fast-food restaurants and antebellum mansions, rich cousins and poor cousins, waiting for the same parade. I glanced at my phone, knowing that I should check in at home. This is what it is like, I thought, to be the circus bear. You pace your cage till they let you out to do tricks. You talk about tuition, hardwood floors, braces and sometimes algebra, and see how long you can balance on that wobbling ball before you go berserk and eat the crowd.

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