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Download Gonville: A Memoir Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Gonville: A Memoir, by Peter Birkenhead Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (68 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Peter Birkenhead Narrator: Peter Birkenhead Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A frequent contributor to such high-profile publications as GQ and the Los Angeles Times, Peter Birkenhead is perhaps best known for his widely read essays and cultural musings on Salon.com. In Gonville, Birkenhead wields his cuts-to-the-bone prose in a memoir focusing largely on a father who is at once a magnetic personality and a violent, cruel force. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Peter Birkenhead’s Gonville is a son’s-eye view of growing up with an emotional terrorist: his father. The memoir is a deft and cunning performance, told in jaunty prose which elegantly maps the geography of fear and of a child’s sad little wish to be loved.”

    New Yorker

  • “Powerful and spirited…Combining the terror and wit of Running with Scissors, the poignancy and sense of place of The Tender Bar, with the sparkling prose of Oh the Glory of It All, Gonville is light on its feet even as it deals in the darkest of family tales. A harrowing and often humorous story of a son coming to terms with his alternately charming, cruel, generous, and violent father.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “Fraught and funny…Birkenhead’s memoir is is intensely detailed, thus the feelings magnified, and full of the blistering ambivalence of a loving son who wondered whether it would have been easier to have a dad who was ‘all bad instead of almost good.’”

    Publisher Weekly

  • “Peter Birkenhead’s candor, humor, and insight about his father and ultimately himself combine to make this a highly enjoyable page-turner. It’s Birkenhead’s gift as a writer that the book is as laugh-out-loud funny as it is kick-you-in-the-chest brutal, and you’ll be ready for the second volume as soon as you finish this one.”

    Elizabeth Crane, author of You Must Be This Happy to Enter

  • “Birkenhead’s navigation of his budding masculinity—even through ominous stretches where he adopts his father’s mood swings—is poignant and often tears-in-the-eyes hilarious.”


  • “Few books I’ve ever read succeed like Gonville at capturing the crazed inventiveness of which the unhappy family is capable. Given the character of Peter Birkenhead’s father, it’s unsurprising that his son’s terrific memoir is full of sadness, humor, and high absurdity. More remarkable is the tolerance, sanity, and good humor that Birkenhead has won from experiences hardly conducive to those traits.” 

    Benjamin Kunkel, author of Indecision and coeditor of n + 1

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Christy Stewart | 9/18/2013

    " Actually funny and written well for a memoir (meaning it wasn't too self-serving) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Karen | 8/9/2013

    " This book had some interesting stories, and it did keep me engaged, but it seemed to me to lack some continuity among chapters. There was no overarching thing to me. But if you're looking for a few disjointed stories about a dysfunctional family, this is a good one! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Clif Smith | 6/22/2013

    " An unusual life to be sure, but it really got repetitive and uneventful in the latter chapters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Bruce | 3/29/2013

    " Reading a memoir, even a weird one like this, makes me want to write my own, for the benefit of my grandchildren, perhaps. "

  • > Show All
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