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A Common Pornography (eBook)
Kevin Sampsell always thought he was part of a normal family growing up in the Pacific Northwest. He never wondered why his older siblings had different last names or why one of them was black. But when his estranged father passed away in 2008, his mother revealed to him some of the family’s mysterious and unsettling history. A history of betrayal, madness, and incest.
A Common Pornography is a uniquely crafted, two-pronged "memory experiment": a collection of sweet and funny snapshots from his childhood, and an unsensational portrait of a family in crisis. Sampsell blends the catastrophic with the mundane and the humorous with the horrific. From his mother's first tumultuous marriages and his father's shocking abuse of his half sister to Kevin's own memories of first jobs, first bands, and first loves, here is a searing, intensely honest memoir that exposes the many haunting shades of a family—both its tragedy and its resiliency.
About the Author
Kevin Sampsell has been the publisher of Future Tense Books since 1990. His own books include the short story collections Beautiful Blemish and Creamy Bullets. In 2009, he edited the anthology Portland Noir. He works for Powell's Books and lives in Portland, Oregon.
Praise for A Common Pornography…
“Sampsell shares loneliness with such intensity that his book almost defeats it—both his and yours. Five stars.”
-Time Out New York
“Sampsell has written a memoir almost unlike any other...a fascinating read.”
-Time Out Chicago
“Its droll style and its archaeological attentiveness to the debris of American life - the remote controls, video recorders, tight ends, and one-hit wonders of yesteryear - combined with Sampsell’s talent for observing the ordinary, infuse the most ‘common’ incidents of growing up with wit and meaning.”
“[A] rather miraculous act of artistic self-creation...his story alone is an adequate metaphor for itself, the life it describes, and its hard-won pleasures.”
“The material perfectly fits the form, shards of memory fused into a compelling concretion of moments. A worthy addition to the work of such contemporary memoirists as Nick Flynn, Augusten Burroughs, Dave Eggers, and Stephen Elliott”
“This is a heartbreaking and magnificent book....I am reminded of Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son. This is the kind of book where you want to thank the author for helping you feel less alone with being alive.”
-Jonathan Ames, author of Wake Up, Sir! and The Double Life is Twice as Good
“For beauty, honesty, sheer weirdness, and a haunting evocation of place, Kevin Sampsell is my favorite Oregon writer. Ken Kesey, Chuck Palahniuk--make some room on the shelf.”
-Sean Wilsey, author of Oh the Glory of it All
“Embarrassing and honest, heartbreaking and hilarious. A Common Pornography is a great memoir from one of the Northwest’s best writers.”
-Willy Vlautin, author of Northline and The Motel Life
“Kevin Sampsell’s stories are brief incantations, uppercuts to the gut, prose poems given over to the bloodiest realms of the self. It’s all here: the emotional squalor, the sweet bite of loneliness. Make no mistake: Sampsell can write like hell.”
-Steve Almond, author of My Life in Heavy Metal