Adrian Nathan West

My Father’s Diet

In a broken-down Middle American town, the disintegration of a struggling family – its ambitions and emotions worn thin – is laid bare through the cold eyes of its only son. While studying at the local community college to finish his degree, he works what his divorced parents deem to be menial jobs and tries to stay out of their way, keeping his pitiless observations about their lives to himself. He says nothing about his semi-estranged father’s doomed attempts to find meaning in strip-mall spirituality. He says nothing about his mother’s willingness to subjugate herself to men he deems unworthy. He says nothing about the anonymity and emptiness to which their social classes and places of birth seem to have condemned everyone he knows, robbing them of even the vocabulary to express their grievances. He says nothing about his own pity, disgust, compassion, tenderness, and love – and when his father enters a bodybuilding competition, he swallows his scorn and agrees to help.

Instantly relatable, impeccably realized, and grimly hilarious, My Father’s Diet is equal parts Kierkegaard, This Side of Paradise, and Pumping Iron: an autopsy of antiquated notions of manhood, and the perfect, bite-sized novel for a world always keen to mistake narcissism for introspection.

Paperback: £10.00
EBook: £6.99
Print status: Pre-order
Original language: English
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date: 1 February 2022
ISBN: 9781913505226
Ebook ISBN: 9781913505233
Availability: World English
Number of pages: 176


Lauren Groff

My Father’s Diet is a wry and blisteringly honest indictment of American grotesquery. It is also – miraculously – tender about the unwinnable game of masculinity in this country. I loved this book for its humour, its clarity, its wicked prose. Adrian Nathan West is a star.’

Joshua Cohen

‘Adrian Nathan West, one of our best translators, is also one of our best novelists. He gives such solemn care to such mundane American pap and crap even while denying any redemptive power to the effort and it's that denial – sorrowful, but without anger, without delusion – that constitutes his brilliance. My Father's Diet is among the most ruthlessly true chronicles of the culture – of the patrimony – that we, all of us, have ruined.’

Lauren Oyler

My Father's Diet is a strange, funny, sad, and wonderful novel. With the precision of a translator who has very good taste, West captures the bizarre vividness of America better than anyone I've ever read.’

William Giraldi

‘In My Father’s Diet, Adrian Nathan West does what the giftless memoirists cannot: he alchemizes experience into art. Here is a rare book not only for sons and their fathers but for any reader who still cares about the reach of sentences well made.’

Edmund White, author of A Boy’s Own Story

‘Imagine a precise, refined eye looking at all the grotesque realities of mall life in Middle America and you’ll have a sense of My Father’s Diet. It’s as if the Joyce of Dubliners were looking at Akron.’

Praise for Adrian Nathan West

‘[The Aesthetics of Degradation]  is a brief, punchy provocation, informed by a strong sense of human compassion—an incitement to readers to think deeply and honestly about a question of profound social importance.’ Houman Barekat, Los Angeles Review of Books