From the list on coming-of-age novels that feature loss.
Who am I?
I’ve lived this theme—my father died just before I turned three years old and I’ve been haunted by his death ever since, especially during my growing up. It’s informed everything I’ve ever written, including an essay I wrote for The New York Times Magazine which they ranked in 2017 as one of their 16 all-time best Lives columns.
Austin's book list on coming-of-age novels that feature loss
Why did Austin love this book?
When I was in college, I told my writing teacher I wanted to write about my father’s death, which had happened when I was very little. My teacher, a famous writer, lost his father when he was very little too, but he told me he never wrote about it directly. I looked for examples in literature of someone writing autobiographically about a loss in early childhood and I only ever found one: Tolstoy’s debut novel, Childhood, Boyhood, Youth. Tolstoy’s mother died when he was 2, his father when he was 8, and he writes about it with unparalleled power across his oeuvre, but never so directly and autobiographically as in Childhood, Boyhood, Youth. He made it OK for me to write my own autobiographical novel about childhood loss.