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Air Traffic by Gregory Pardlo

Air Traffic

Air Traffic by Gregory Pardlo
Apr 10, 2018 | 272 Pages
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    Apr 10, 2018 | 272 Pages

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    Apr 10, 2018 | 272 Pages

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“The winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, Gregory Pardlo also writes damn good prose….We often talk about Great American Novels, but Air Traffic is an excellent contender in the Great American Memoir category, an honest and touching look at what it’s like to grow up black and male in this country.” Vulture, “Best Books of Spring”
“Endlessly introspective, wide-ranging, and lucid, Pardlo’s fearless inventory stuns with beautifully written, fully saturated snapshots of rich and complicated familial love.” Booklist (starred review)

“A careful and delicately crafted window into the private life of the author, imparting knowledge and insight on identity and race politics in 20th-century America…. Masterfully personal, with passages that come at you with the urgent force of [Pardlo’s] powerful convictions…. The author manages to distill stereotypes to their very core, providing a genuine and productive exposition of issues of masculinity in the contemporary world. An engrossing memoir of history and memory.”  Kirkus

“How are families shaped by race, economics, genetics, love, jealousy and rifts? These are the questions Gregory Pardlo ponders in his highly anticipated memoir….Pardlo seems to be defying the odds, turning his pain into mesmerizing poetry and prose.” Bookpage 

“Unflinchingly honest and audaciously vulnerable, Air Traffic is a testament to what we must live through on the path to understanding what we are living for.” —Tracy K. Smith

“Gregory Pardlo’s Air Traffic is not just one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read—it’s an ice core drill through the complexities of American life. Each chapter illuminates how economics, class, labor relations, education, and race have shaped the American character, and the lives of the truly remarkable people here, with deep knowledge and with exquisite sentences that alternately surprise, move, and delight.” —Phil Klay, author of Redeployment
Air Traffic is a book about love and unlikely odds, about what we inherit and how we escape. Greg Pardlo offers something magnificent here—a deeply personal investigation that pulls back the veil on our current national (and historic) malaise. Winners win. So what? The story stinks of empire. Pardlo’s father, who is at the heart of this story, is of a type that is familiar to me, yet Pardlo has managed to pull a thread of truth from all the bullshit, and from that thread he has woven a life.” —Nick Flynn, author Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

“With grace and edge, Greg Pardlo’s Air Traffic refuses to satisfy itself with easy epiphanies that might populate another book. Instead, it turns over these revelations like so many mossy stones to show the live creatures beneath: the broken promises and blemished mythologies and unexpected moments of grace that compost the soil of any life. Pardlo’s voice is smart, funny, restless, ruminative, and not quite like anything you’re ever read. Change that. Read this.” —Leslie Jamison
“Air Traffic is at once a searing memoir of a crucial labor movement defeat, and a moving consideration of a father’s legacy–a profound reflection on both the American past and present. And with it, Pardlo shows himself a memoirist to rival the poet he already is.” —Alexander Chee, author of Queen of the Night
“A remarkable achievement, Air Traffic is a mordantly charming, raw, comic and wise blend of intellectual sophistication and deeply honest storytelling. It is also a glorious addition to the father-son memoir genre that extends from John Stuart Mill, Edmund Gosse and V. S. Pritchett to Geoffrey Wollf and Philip Roth. Gregory Pardlo has written a classic. ” —Phillip Lopate
“Gregory Pardlo has written an elegant series of essays that deftly illuminate complex issues of race and labor politics in America, the ways that alcoholism and ambition seep their vivid dyes through the fibers of a family, and the messy redemption of our greatest efforts to change ourselves. With a poet’s patience, he distills the riot of living into clean and graceful prose that I gulped in luxurious draughts.” —Melissa Febos, author of Whip Smart and Abandon Me
“Pardlo’s memoir is by turns analytical, angry, ironic, raw and emotional. A Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, he fortifies his prose with images that jolt reflection and meditation to something closer to lived and felt experience….While this vertiginous memoir covers Pardlo’s youth, brief Marine reserves stint, false-starting college career, two marriages, alcoholism, parenthood, and the constant negotiations of race, its center is Pardlo’s relationship with his father. A demanding man, both blunt and cryptic, the elder Pardlo tested his son with a rigorous trial-by-dictionary that required the second-grader to look up an assigned word, memorize the definition, and learn all other unfamiliar words it referenced. That this ‘ordeal’ gave Pardlo a love of language rather than an aversion to it is amazing….Among the standouts in this impressive overview of a life are Pardlo’s insightful profiles of the family dynamics of alcoholism, and the sheer exuberance of family life. ‘Behind The Wheel’ could almost be a short story, as the voices of three generations quibble, explain, protest, and joke, all at the same time.” —Laurie Greer, Politics & Prose

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