From the critically acclaimed author of the novel The Good Brother and memoir My Father the Pornographer, Same River Twice is the second volume from an American literary star. “If you haven't read Chris Offutt, you've missed an accomplished and compelling writer” (Chicago Tribune).
At the age of nineteen, Chris Offutt had already been rejected by the army, the Peace Corps, the park rangers, and the police. So he left his home in the Kentucky Appalachians and thumbed his way north—into a series of odd jobs and even stranger encounters with his fellow Americans.
Fifteen years later, Offutt finds himself in a place he never thought he’d be: settled down with a pregnant wife.
Writing from the banks of the Iowa River, where he came to rest, he intersperses the story of his youthful journeys with that of his journey to fatherhood in a memoir that is uniquely candid, occasionally brutal, and often wonderfully funny. As he reckons with the comforts and terrors of maturity, Offutt finally discovers what is best in life and in himself.
What keeps this first book by Offut from becoming a familiar nonfictional Bildungsroman is the author's sensitivity to nature and his lyrical prose in writing about it. Offut, however, is far less successful in describing people: his memoir is populated by a predictable array of derelicts, oddballs and near-psychotics as he journeys around the U.S., dreaming alternately of becoming an actor, a painter, a playwright and a poet, yet usually doing little to realize his aspirations. Only those who are intrigued by America's social underside will enjoy Offut's portraits of human flotsam. The underlying plot of the book concerns his wife's pregnancy and the birth of their first child, a son, but neither Offut's approach to nor his words about this subject are original.