Wolff, Geoffrey. The Duke of Deception: Memories of My Father. New York: Random House, 1979.
June is the month for celebrating fathers. I don’t think celebrating is what Wolff had in mind when he wrote the Duke of Deception. Instead I think the writing was cathartic for him and a way to exorcize demons that have haunted him since childhood. If it possible to have the perfect balance of a love/hate relationship with a family member Wolff accomplished it. Throughout the entire tale Wolff is matter of fact to the point of being downright cold and yet, you can tell he loved and worshiped his father. He just didn’t completely understand him. Geoffrey Wolff is a son who couldn’t wait to be far enough away but was never close enough. Probably the most astounding aspect of “Duke” Wolf was his ability to exploit and swindle people at every chance he got. Lying, cheating, stealing became second nature to him. My mind reeled every time Duke Wolff uprooted his family to dodge a debt.
Author fact: According to Random House, Wolff lives in Bath, Maine. My only connection to Bath is a night at a B&B. Sad to say since I’m a Mainer.
Book Trivia: Geoffrey’s story in only half of the big picture. His brother Tobias wrote the other side in This Boy’s Life (review is here).
BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called “All in the Family: Writer Dynasties” (p 5).
Kirby, David. “The House of Blue Light.” The House of Blue Light. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1998. pp 26-29.
“The House of Blue Light” reads like a short story. We’re talking really, really short, but a story with characters and a plot all the same. It starts off with dad at the gym. I’m guessing he’s in his 40s, maybe early 50s. He’s watching Little Richard on tv. Inexplicably he gets emotional about the music he hears. I say inexplicably because personally, I cannot understand Little Richard for the life of me. Anyway, when describing the incident to his wife she tells him, “your just emotional because your son is going off to college.” His emotions make him think about other situations where he has broken down and lost his compusure. He imagines a house of blue light where good times are had. A place where all his memories are kept.
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “Kitchen Sink Poetry” (p 138).