Books: The Sins of the Father

Poet James Dickey is remembered by his son as a talented writer, a wild raconteur...and an S.O.B.

Saints aspire to simplicity. On the other hand, writers who drink too much sometimes like to think of themselves as complicated. "The most complicated subject that I know, since I am a man," wrote Ernest Hemingway, "is a man's life"--meaning that the most complicated subject he knew was himself. Complexity is a sort of macho/metaphysical burden. But maybe the smokescreen of the "complicated" is also the beginning of the storyteller's art. ("Bill! Bill Faulkner, where have you been for the last three days?" "It's a complicated story, dear.")

"Complicated" appears in a blurb on the jacket of Summer of Deliverance (Simon...

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