'One of the best memoirs I've had in years' - Financial Times
At just forty-seven years old, William Giraldi’s father was killed in a horrific motorcycle accident. Writing here with searing honesty about grief, obsession, shame and identity, he looks back on three generations of men from the blue-collar town of Manville, New Jersey, and tells their stories in tandem: the speed-crazed cult of his father’s ‘superbikes’, each Sunday spent racing fate along the winding back roads of Pennsylvania; the trauma of a son’s ultimate loss, and William’s attempts to rebuild a self in the manliest costume he knew. For a teen consumed by hardcore bodybuilding, pumping iron was so much more than a sport—it was a hallowed lifeline for a bookish tenth-grader, a way to forge himself a spot amongst his family’s imperious patriarchs.
A work of lasting literary beauty, lauded by the New Yorker for its ‘unrelenting, perfectly paced prose’, The Hero’s Body is a tale of the working-class male, the codes of machismo and the unspoken bond between father and son.
'Must reading, and not just for men' - Richard Russo
'an absorbing memoir' - Times Literary Supplement
'The Hero’s Body is a terse, gripping memoir set in working-class New Jersey. Giraldi’s hyper-masculine childhood is a foil for his revelations on the true fragility of male identity' - Guardian
'I read The Hero’s Body with admiration, a deep sense of kinship and joy' - Howard Cunnell, author of Fathers and Sons
For readers who loved Oliver Sacks' On the Move, William Finnegan's Barbarian Days, Cathy Rentzenbrink's The Last Act of Love and Grayson Perry's The Descent of Man