A memoir of motorcycles and muscles, of obsession and grief, and of a young man who learned how to stay alive through literature.
At just forty-seven years old, William Giraldi’s father was killed in a horrific motorcycle crash while racing on a country road. This tragedy, which forever altered the young Giraldi and devastated his family, provides the pulse for The Hero’s Body. In the tradition of Andre Dubus III’s Townie, this is a deep-seeing investigation into two generations of men from the working-class town of Manville, New Jersey, including Giraldi’s own forays into obsessive bodybuilding as a teenager desperate to be worthy of his family’s pitiless, exacting codes of manhood. Lauded by The New Yorker for his “unrelenting, perfectly paced prose,” Giraldi writes here with daring, searing honesty about the fragility and might of the American male. An unflinching memoir of luminous sorrow, a son’s tale of a lost father and the ancient family strictures of extreme masculinity, The Hero’s Body is a work of lasting beauty by one of our most fearless writers.