What We Lost: A Story of My Father's Childhood by Granta Books 229pp £12 - review by Sam Leith

Sam Leith

Kidnapped for the Cows

What We Lost: A Story of My Father's Childhood

By

 

Dale Peck's new book opens with his father being kidnapped by his grandfather. It is a freezing winter morning in Long Island, not yet light, and the boy, fourteen years old, is pulled bewildered fi-om the bed he shares wkh his six siblings and, in too-tight hand-medown shoes, spirited to his uncle's dairy farm in upstate New York. There, he is dumped.

The Old Man, as Dale Peck Sr knows his own father, is a drunken wastrel addicted to prescription cough syrup. His wife - the author's grandmother - has missed no opportunity to beat young Dale with a length of hose. The school bullies, likewise, give Dale a daily hiding on

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