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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination


Winner of the Christopher Isherwood Foundation Award for Fiction, 2007

Reminiscent of Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Ernest Hemingway's Nick Adams stories, Memories from a Sinking Ship travels the landscape of a turbulent world seen through a boy's steady gaze. Like Twain's Mississippi River and Hemingway's Big Two-Hearted, Gifford's Chicago, New Orleans, and the highways and byways between offer us mesmerizing lives lost in the kaleidoscope of postwar America, in particular those of Roy's adrift and disappointed mother and his hoodlum father.


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“| "This novel is so exquisitely structured and Gifford's story so engaging that it surrounds the reader and the characters, tying us to them with rapid transitions and rich embroidery. More, there is a persistent rhythm to it all, a constant throbbing like a train in motion or the beating of a heart, that permeates this work and brings the individual episodes into harmony that makes this collection of scenes into a novel.”

“Gifford cuts right through to the heart of what makes a good novel readable and entertaining. … The way Barry Gifford does it, it's high art.”


The author of more than forty works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, which have been translated into over twenty-five languages, BARRY GIFFORD writes distinctly American stories for readers around the globe. From screenplays and librettos to his acclaimed Sailor and Lula novels, Gifford’s writing is as distinctive as it is difficult to classify. Born in the Seneca Hotel on Chicago’s Near North Side, he relocated in his adolescence to New Orleans. The move proved significant: throughout his career, Gifford’s fiction—part-noir, part-picaresque, always entertaining—is born of the clash between what he has referred to as his “Northern Side” and “Southern Side.” Gifford has been recipient of awards from PEN, the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Library Association, the Writers Guild of America, and the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. His novel Wild at Heart was adapted into the 1990 Palme d’Or-winning film of the same name. Gifford lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Other books by Barry Gifford