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Duke of Deception by Geoffrey Wolff

Duke of Deception (edition 1990)

by Geoffrey Wolff

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As you start the book, be clear as to who "Kay" is, because it's kind of confusing, and the author will return to the opening scene toward the end. ( )
  x_hoxha | Nov 3, 2014 |
This is the kind of memoir that makes the reader squirm for its raw account of dysfunction. It embodies the conflict between truth, wishful thinking, and memories, while portraying a certain lifestyle and era that baby boomers and their parents may remember vividly. ( )
  sleahey | Sep 11, 2012 |
June is the month for celebrating fathers. I don't think celebrating is what Wolff had in mind when he wrote the Duke of Deception. Instead I think the writing was cathartic for him and a way to exorcize demons that have haunted him since childhood. If it possible to have the perfect balance of a love/hate relationship with a family member Wolff accomplished it. Throughout the entire tale Wolff is matter of fact to the point of being downright cold and yet, you can tell he loved and worshiped his father. He just didn't completely understand him. Geoffrey Wolff is a son who couldn't wait to be far enough away but was never close enough. Probably the most astounding aspect of "Duke" Wolf was his ability to exploit and swindle people at every chance he got. Lying, cheating, stealing became second nature to him. My mind reeled every time Duke Wolff uprooted his family to dodge a debt. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Jun 20, 2012 |
This book grabbed me from page one and kept me. Having grown up with a very careful and frugal father who lived through the Depression and taught my siblings and me the necessity and advantages of saving, working and earning our keep, it was hard for me to imagine a father like Geoffrey Wolff had, who so flaunted the rules and laws of society - and for many years got away with it. I mean this guy, Arthur Wolff, was like the Great Imposter and the Wizard of Oz. He knew how to work the system and lived the good life - at least part of the time. It took his older son a while to figure out what his father was, but even when he finally had, he couldn't completely hate him. There is such a see-saw of emotions and material circumstances and living conditions displayed here that, frankly, I can't understand how the author survived his childhood and became a respected writer and teacher. But he did, and I salute him. I'd read a few of his little brother's books, but this is the first book by Geoffrey Wolff I had read. I will have to look for his other books now. This is simply darn good writing. I was sorry to see the story end, and particularly sad at how it ended. Wolff's father may have lived large, but he died alone and unnoticed. And in spite of everything, Geoffrey Wolff still thinks of his dad - and misses him. Good book. ( )
  TimBazzett | Dec 11, 2009 |
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This story is for Justin and Nicholas
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On a sunny day in a sunny humor I could sometimes think of death as a mere gossip, the ugly rumor behind that locked door over there.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679727523, Paperback)

Duke Wolff was a flawless specimen of the American clubman -- a product of Yale and the OSS, a one-time fighter pilot turned aviation engineer. Duke Wolff was a failure who flunked out of a series of undistinguished schools, was passed up for military service, and supported himself with desperately improvised scams, exploiting employers, wives, and, finally, his own son.

In The Duke of Deception, Geoffrey Wolff unravels the enigma of this Gatsbyesque figure, a bad man who somehow was also a very good father, an inveterate liar who falsified everything but love.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:06 -0400)

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