Phipp Kearney is a college professor who should have been a criminal. He, who grew up in a torture chamber hidden behind a middle class front door, suffers with a ruinous personality. His life is a waiting room for his childhood to sneak into the present and destroy him. The loss of his wife and his university position loom before him. Yet he neither understands why these losses are imminent nor recognizes the troubles that precipitated them. In a bitter-end effort, his wife lures him into a therapy called Memory Work. He accedes, and begrudgingly begins to write. In a cabin upon Georgia's mighty Coosa River, with neighbors out of the book of the too familiar, he finds that past and present merge into a lethal profile of himself. Still, with a sense of stoicism and raillery, he shares with the reader his memories of being stripped of ego, self-esteem, spontaneity, creativity, and the ability to love, along the road toward disconnectedness as an adult. Infidelity, bigotry, suicide, and the masks of battery and abuse, scar the landscape over which Phipp travels in his search to unravel his past3/4a twelve year old boy and a timid old man his most potent therapists.
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