My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir (Paperback)

A Memoir

By Chris Offutt

Washington Square Press, 9781501112478, 272pp.

Publication Date: April 11, 2017

February 2016 Indie Next List

“This fascinating memoir of Offutt's difficult relationship with his father is complicated by the realization that his father was a prolific writer of pornography. Author Andrew Offutt was known as a science fiction writer, but, with his death, his son discovers that his family's income was due to the astounding abundance of writing in this other genre. As he catalogs his father's library of writings, drawings, and more, Offutt tries to understand the man that kept his family walking on eggshells. Difficult to read at times, but complex, intriguing, and hard to put down.”
— Nona Camuel (W), CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, KY
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Description

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

In "one of the most sensitive, nuanced examinations of father and son relationships" (The Boston Globe), award-winning writer Chris Offutt struggles to understand his recently deceased father, based on his reading of the 400-plus novels his father--a well-known writer of pornography in the 1970s and 80s--left him in his will.

Andrew Offutt was considered the "king of twentieth-century smut," with a writing career that began as a strategy to pay for his son's orthodontic needs and soon took on a life of its own, peaking during the 1970s when the commercial popularity of the erotic novel reached its height. With his dutiful wife serving as typist, Andrew wrote from their home in the Kentucky hills, locked away in an office no one dared intrude upon. In this fashion he wrote more than four hundred novels, including pirate porn, ghost porn, zombie porn, and secret agent porn. The more he wrote, the more intense his ambition became and the more difficult it was for his children to be part of his world.

Over the long summer of 2013, his son, Chris, returned to his hometown to help his now widowed mother move out of his childhood home. As he began to examine his father's manuscripts and memorabilia, journals, and letters, he realized he finally had an opportunity to gain insight into the difficult, mercurial, sometimes cruel man he'd loved and feared in equal measure. Only in his father's absence could he truly make sense of the man and his legacy.

In My Father, the Pornographer, Offutt takes us on the journey with him, reading his father's prodigious literary output as both a critic and as a son seeking answers. He "enters the darkest and most mysterious of places--the cave of a monstrous enigma named Andrew J. Offutt--armed with nothing but his own restless curiosity. Spoiler alert: He makes it out alive, walking into the daylight to bring us a deeper, funnier, more tender and more heartbroken truth--and his masterpiece" (Michael Chabon).
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