Memories from a Sinking Ship: A Novel
  • $13.95 $10.46
    • Paperback
    • 272
    • June 2009
    • 9781583228753
  • $21.95 $16.46
    • Hardcover
    • 256
    • May 2007
    • 9781583227626

Memories from a Sinking Ship: A Novel

Barry Gifford

Winner of the Christopher Isherwood Foundation Award for Fiction, 2007

Reminiscent of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn and Ernest Hemingway's Nick Adams stories, Memories from a Sinking Ship travels the landscape of a turbulent world seen through a boy's steady gaze. Like Twain's Mississippi River and Hemingway's Big Two-Hearted, Gifford's Chicago, New Orleans, and the highways and byways between offer us mesmerizing lives lost in the kaleidoscope of postwar America, in particular those of Roy's adrift and disappointed mother and his hoodlum father.


"This novel is so exquisitely structured and Gifford's story so engaging that it surrounds the reader and the characters, tying us to them with rapid transitions and rich embroidery. More, there is a persistent rhythm to it all, a constant throbbing like a train in motion or the beating of a heart, that permeates this work and brings the individual episodes into harmony that makes this collection of scenes into a novel." —Review of Contemporary Fiction

"Nearly every Gifford story opens a Pandora's Box of uncontainable emotions. … There's no one like Barry Gifford, which is the best reason to read him." —Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe

"Gifford cuts right through to the heart of what makes a good novel readable and entertaining. … The way Barry Gifford does it, it's high art." —Elmore Leonard

About Barry Gifford

BARRY GIFFORD’s fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have been published in twenty-eight languages. His novel Night People was awarded the Premio Brancati, established by Pier Paolo Pasolini and Alberto Moravia in Italy, and he has been the recipient of awards from PEN, the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Library Association, the Writers Guild of America, and the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. His books Sailor’s Holiday and The Phantom Father were each named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times, and his book Wyoming was named a Novel of the Year by the Los Angeles Times. He has written librettos for operas by the composers Toru Takemitsu, Ichiro Nodaira, and Olga Neuwirth. Gifford’s work has appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker, Punch, Esquire, La Nouvelle Revue Française, El País, La Repubblica, Rolling Stone, Brick, Film Comment, El Universal, Projections, and the New York Times. His film credits include Wild at Heart, Perdita Durango, Lost Highway, City of Ghosts, Ball Lightning, and The Phantom Father. Barry Gifford’s most recent books include Sailor & Lula: The Complete Novels, Sad Stories of the Death of Kings, Imagining Paradise: New & Selected Poems and The Roy Stories. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information visit

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