A Wolf at the Table

A Wolf at the Table

A Memoir of My Father

Book - 2009
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Baker & Taylor
The author traces the story of his relationship with his father, in a psychologically charged tale that evaluates such themes as the line between love and hate and a child's longing for unconditional love.

McMillan Palgrave

The #1 bestselling author of Running with Scissors and Dry returns with a most unexpected and powerful memoir.

Nominated for the 2009 Audiobook of the Year

"As a little boy, I had a dream that my father had taken me to the woods where there was a dead body. He buried it and told me I must never tell. It was the only thing we'd ever done together as father and son, and I promised not to tell. But unlike most dreams, the memory of this one never left me. And sometimes…I wasn't altogether sure about one thing: was it just a dream?"

When Augusten Burroughs was small, his father was a shadowy presence in his life: a form on the stairs, a cough from the basement, a silent figure smoking a cigarette in the dark. As Augusten grew older, something sinister within his father began to unfurl. Something dark and secretive that could not be named.

Betrayal after shocking betrayal ensued, and Augusten's childhood was over. The kind of father he wanted didn't exist for him. This father was distant, aloof, uninterested…

And then the "games" began.

With A Wolf at the Table, Augusten Burroughs makes a quantum leap into untapped emotional terrain: the radical pendulum swing between love and hate, the unspeakably terrifying relationship between father and son. Told with scorching honesty and penetrating insight, it is a story for anyone who has ever longed for unconditional love from a parent. Though harrowing and brutal, A Wolf at the Table will ultimately leave you buoyed with the profound joy of simply being alive. It's a memoir of stunning psychological cruelty and the redemptive power of hope.

Publisher: New York : Picador/St. Martin's Press, 2009
Edition: 1st Picador ed
ISBN: 9780312428273
Characteristics: 251 p. ; 21 cm


From the critics

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Oct 22, 2015

Difficult topic, great writing.

WVMLStaffPicks Jan 27, 2015

Burroughs' (his father was not William S.) electrifying memoir of his disturbing childhood reminded me of Jeanette Wall's The Glass Castle. This tale will make you wince.

gottschalk Jun 19, 2013


Jun 05, 2012

Augusten Burroughs' books are always riviting reads. However, this book is more of an exploration of the relationship of his father and a deeper look into his earlier childhood than it is a memoir of his father. I do wish the book went deeper into his father's persona, but it was still a good read.

Aug 08, 2011

Last summer, after reading through most of Augusten Burroughs other books I decided to give this dark, serious story a shot. The book is a stretch from his other works and it is great.

The story is absolutely haunting, superbly well written, and will stay with you for some time.

ser_library Apr 09, 2011

disturbing, jprolix and repetitive

reading the first and last chapters is enough

Aug 18, 2008

Maybe I'm getting tired of these "my parents screwed up my life" books. I was confused through much of the book, which I guess is the point as Burroughs was a child and was confused by his father's behaviour. The main point of wanting to be loved is poignant. Other than that, not much substance to the book in my opinion.

Jul 21, 2008

I found this a bit of a "disburbing" read compared to other of Augusten's books which seem to have some humor mixed in with the insanity. There is no humor here, just the sad and frustrating recount of growing up with a very disturbed alcoholic father.


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Jul 21, 2008

A dark and emotional memoir written about his father; the personal accounts of a young boy growing up longing for his father's affections in childhood and well into his adulthood.

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