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Raising Raffi


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About the Author

Keith Gessen was born in Moscow in 1975 and came to the United States with his family when he was six years old. He is a co-founder of the literary magazine n+1 and the author of the novels All the Sad Young Literary Men and A Terrible Country. He has translated or co-translated several books from Russian, including Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich. He lives in New York with his wife, the author and publisher Emily Gould, and their two sons.


'A wise, mild and enviably lucid book about a chaotic scene... Gessen is a calm and observant writer - if he were a singer, he'd always come in a bit behind the beat - who raises, and struggles with, the right questions about himself and the world' - Dwight Garner

'A father's careful, piercing introspection, and a deep analysis of anger... Gessen writes about his temperamental, trying son with a depth that can only come from years of loving observation... Memoirs of fatherhood are rarely so honest or so blunt' - Daniel Engber

'Raising Raffi is tender and generous' - New York magazine

'Gessen offers both investigative probe and personal confession; he's both a critic and a dad... But it's one of the most honest accounts of the rage a parent can feel when personally victimized by their small children, even as they love those children with stupefying tenderness. I've never seen this reckoned with so candidly before' - Meghan Flaherty

'I didn't know I was waiting for a book like this until I read it. Raising Raffi is original, funny, and full of heart' - Daniel Alarcon, author of AT NIGHT WE WALK IN CIRCLES

'My brother wrote a book about my nephew, and this book made me laugh and tear up. It's a book about love: the love of a father for his child, of course, and also the love of an adult son for his parents (our parents), the love an emigre feels for the language (Russian) and culture (Soviet Jewish emigre) of his home. It's a book about the way love makes us feel powerless one minute and strong the next' - Masha Gessen, author of THE FUTURE IS HISTORY

'A raw, wry, introspective chronicle of the first five years of dad life... It raises profound questions about what it means to raise a boy when the old ways of being a man have been discredited and the new ones have yet to saturate. If you are a father, want to be a father, have a father, or are thinking of leaving the father of your children, then this book is for you' - Anand Giridharadas, author of WINNERS TAKE ALL

'Parents who have doubted themselves and tried to untangle the mystery of young humans-in other words, all parents-will recognise themselves in this vulnerable and finely wrought memoir' - Megan K. Stack, author of WOMEN'S WORK

'Keith Gessen is one my favourite writers, and Raising Raffi brings to bear everything I love about him: his fierce intellect and fiercer compassion, his deep reflection and pitch-perfect humour. This fatherhood shit ain't easy, but Gessen might just help us make it through' - Adam Mansbach, author of GO THE F*CK TO SLEEP

'I would read Keith Gessen writing about anything but having his curiosity trained on the thorny, existential subject of parenthood is pure heaven. I read this book about the neurosis (and the joy!) of the 21st-century parent in a fugue state, grateful to Gessen for his humour and insight' - Meaghan O'Connell, author of AND NOW WE HAVE EVERYTHING

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