Gregory Pardlo

Air Traffic

Air Traffic

A Memoir of Ambition & Manhood in America

Knopf / Hardcover / 288 pages / ISBN-10: 1524731765 / ISBN-13: 978-1524731762

Release Date: April 10, 2018

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From the publisher: From the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, his first work of prose: a deeply felt memoir of a family's bonds and a meditation on race, addiction, fatherhood, ambition, and American culture

The Pardlos were an average, middle-class African American family living in a New Jersey Levittown: charismatic Gregory Sr., an air traffic controller, his wife, and their two sons, bookish Greg Jr. and musical-talent Robbie. But when "Big Greg" loses his job after participating in the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Strike of 1981, he becomes a disillusioned, toxic, looming presence in the household--and a powerful rival for young Greg. While Big Greg succumbs to addiction and exhausts the family's money, Greg Jr. rebels--he joins a boot camp for prospective Marines, follows a woman to Denmark, drops out of college again and again, and yields to alcoholism. Years later, he falls for a beautiful, no-nonsense woman named Ginger and becomes a parent himself. Then, he finally grapples with the irresistible yet ruinous legacy of masculinity he inherited from his father. In chronicling his path to recovery and adulthood--Gregory Pardlo gives us a compassionate, loving ode to his father, to fatherhood, and to the frustrating-yet-redemptive ties of family, as well as a scrupulous, searing examination of how African American manhood is shaped by contemporary American life.

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