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The TLS Book Review: ‘Chasing Ghosts’

17th February 2016

In the January 29th issue of The Times Literary Supplement, Terri Apter writes about Louise DeSalvo’s Chasing Ghosts: A Memoir of a Father, Gone to War  and about how her ghosts stemming from her relationship with her father “have been with her all along, shaping her childhood interest in history, and in war stories, and, eventually, in memoir writing.”

She begins the review by saying, “The compulsion to retrieve lost relationships also underpins Louise DeSalvo’s memoir, Chasing Ghosts.  The author sets out to discover a father different from the violent man she had known for most of her life and whom she had grown used to ‘lock[ing] into the crosshairs of my sightline to see what he would do next’.  Frequently told she is her ‘father’s daughter’, DeSalvo struggles with their similarities: they are both easily provoked, slow to forgive, moody and difficult.”

Apter goes on to say that in DeSalvo’s book, “it is 1942, and the family is on borrowed time, waiting for the father to be called back into service.  By the time he has to re-enlist, he has set up a network of support that sees the pair more or less safely through the war.  Yet on his return, he himself has changed, and with his unpredictable rages, he becomes the child’s primary threat.”

To read the entire TLS review, you can find it here.

Be sure to check out Louise DeSalvo’s captivating memoir on Fordham Press’ website, where you too can step into her life and witness one woman’s struggle with her ghosts.