Criminals: My Family's Life on Both Sides of the Law

Criminals: My Family's Life on Both Sides of the Law

by Robert Anthony Siegel


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"An engrossing, highly readable memoir in essays about growing up in New York in the 1970s . . . [T]his is a tender portrait of family dysfunction." —Booklist

The Siegels of New York are a singular creation—quirky, idealistic, shaped in large part by Siegel's father, a lovable, impossible man of gargantuan appetites and sloppy ethics, a criminal defense attorney who loved his drug-dealing clients a little too much and went to prison as a result. Siegel's mother decided to pour her energies into making her children refined, art-loving mavens of fine dining in international settings—all the things that his father was not––with Robert as her most targeted ally. Once out of prison, Siegel's father struggled with depression, attempting to re-enter legal practice, with age and finances nipping at his heels. Robert, as a son and later as an author, attempts to put all of these pieces together to make a coherent shape of family before realizing perhaps no such thing exists.

Where is the thin, permeable line between right and wrong? How does one family join the greater world of normal people beyond the demimonde of drug dealers, bikers, schemers, rock musicians, and artists that swirled around them? Criminals explores those questions without easy judgements, creating a prism of an eccentric collection of characters bound together as the mysterious tribe of family.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781640092273
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Publication date: 07/16/2019
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 929,548
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

ROBERT ANTHONY SIEGEL is the author of two novels, All the Money in the World and All Will Be Revealed. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian, The Paris Review, Oxford American, and Tin House, among other venues. Siegel has been a Fulbright Scholar at Tunghai University in Taiwan and a Monbukagakusho Fellow at the University of Tokyo in Japan. Other awards include O. Henry and Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center and the Copernicus Society of America.

Table of Contents

Memory Loop 3

Criminals 7

Stan, Darling 31

Gourmets 34

Two Angels 46

Everyone Wants to Be a Hells Angel 48

Self-Portrait on Acid 63

Psychedelia 66

Smash 79

Choke 80

No English 93

The Floating Bridge of Dreams 94

Mono No Aware 117

Unreliable Tour Guide 119

Shopping 125

Homesteaders 127

First Car 146

Sean 148

The Window 162

How I Learned to Be a Writer 163

Lockjaw 177

Friends 178

Voicemail 196

Haiku for My Father 199

The Heron 208

Nothing That Wants to Run Away 211

A Year in Taiwan 217

Fragments from a Taiwan Notebook 219

Stilt Walking 224

My Mother, My Writing Student 225

Summer House 230

The Dream Book 231

Acknowledgments 239

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