May 14, 2008

Shameless promotion of an old friend's spellbinding new book

In The New York Observer, Adam Begley recommends Lise Funderburg's recently released memoir, Pig Candy. "If you're after a memoir pure and simple—a life exposed with intelligence and feeling—you could hardly do better than Pig Candy: Taking My Father South, Taking My Father Home--A Memoir (Free Press, $24), in which Lise Funderburg takes us down to Monticello, Ga. (pop. 2,500), the place her father, a light-skinned black man, had escaped from, the place he came back to in his prosperous late middle age. The story is built around her father's attachment to his 126-acre farm—an attachment that grows stronger even as metastasized prostate cancer weakens him. Pig Candy—the title refers to barbecued pork—wears its somber themes lightly. Yes, it's about mortality, race and filial duty, but Ms. Funderburg never lectures, never preaches, never prettifies. She unspools her story with quiet candor and an unpretentious faith in the significance of what she has to say." Funderburg isn't a painter but we've been friends since college, and her thoughtful memoir honestly examines her tumultuous relationship with a difficult father. Visit Funderburg's website for more information. She will be speaking on Sunday at the Philadelphia Book Festival.

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