Memory, Too, Is an Actor

On the screen, writer Tobias Wolff sees himself reinvented one more time

There are lies and damned lies, and then there is memory. Writer Tobias Wolff reflects that "memory becomes an actor on its own. You try to make it tell the truth, and that's the best you can do." He is talking about his 1989 memoir, This Boy's Life, justly praised for the dead-on honesty of its scruffy boyhood self-portrait.

Ten years earlier, his elder brother, Geoffrey Wolff, had published his own memoir, The Duke of Deception, a remarkable account of life with their father Arthur Wolff, a loving, brilliant rogue who was a lifelong bankrupt, scamster and confidence man. "A bad...

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