By Todd Gitlin
(Metropolitan Books, Hardcover, 9780805060324, 229pp.)
Publication Date: April 1999
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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A beautiful, elegiac novel of a father, a son, and the secrets that divide generations.
In the seventy-fifth year of his life, on a sweltering August afternoon, Chester Garland, the distinguished psychiatrist, author, and campaigner for human rights, is struck by a subway train and dies. Soon after, his son Paul receives a thoroughly unexpected inheritance: three diaries written decades earlier, in the year when Garland, on a trip to France,unaccountably walked out on his family and his profession.
As cool, detached Paul, a cyberspace cartoonist, reads the diaries, he finally faces the event that has shadowed his life since childhood. He embarks, as his father had a quarter century earlier, on a pilgrimage of love and grief, of passions-religious, erotic, and intellectual-and of discovery that is as unexpected as it is moving.
With grace and precision, Gitlin takes us on a journey not just across an ocean or across decades, but into the secret depths of two men's lives, which were forever changed in the aftermath of that tumultuous decade now known as "the sixties." A memorable portrait of a father and son locked in a biblical embrace, Sacrifice builds with quiet elegance to its shocking conclusion.
Todd Gitlin is the author of The Twilight of Common Dreams (Owl Books, 0-8050- 4091-9), The Sixties, and a novel, The Murder of Albert Einstein. A columnist for the New York Observer, he teaches culture, journalism, and sociology at New York University.