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Anthony Swofford’s newest book, “Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails,” (Twelve 2012) returns to the memoir form that brought America “Jarhead” and catapulted Swofford into a life of flying to Paris, Madrid, Istanbul, or Ho Chi Minh City for a meal; flying women to London, Tokyo, or Oakland for dinner or sex; buying and losing a home and sports car; and led to him and his father traveling the country together in a Winnebago.
While Swofford’s book is not for everyone, it is solidly written about sex, loss, and his understanding of what being a father means. There are some difficult passages, some eloquently written ones, and writing that is always direct.
“If I lied to a lover about what neighborhood or city or country I’d slept in the night before, it didn’t really matter: the relationship might sour but she would never kill me.” This passage is written from an older, perhaps wiser, Anthony Swofford.
About the title, Swofford says that the hotels refer to those he has stayed in and where he “occasionally behaved badly.” Swofford once spent a night in a New York jail after wrecking his BMW sports car. The hospitals, though, are the one at Travis AFB where he was born and where he picked up his father after he had collapsed; hospitals where he watched his older brother die from cancer; and the hospital where his daughter was born.
“There are also the hotels, hospitals, and jails in my mind, where I spent a lot of time in my thirties while I tried to figure my life out. Sometimes I escaped, sometimes I was sick, and sometimes I was incarcerated, but eventually I found a way out,” Swofford said in an earlier interview.
Anthony Swofford attended American River College, graduated with a BA in English from UC Davis in 1999, and completed his graduate studies at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His first memoir, “Jarhead,” was released in 2003 and the film adaptation released in 2005.
Swofford will speak about his experiences, read from “Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails,” and sign books 7:00 p.m. Friday at Time Tested Books, 1114 21st Street, Sacramento, CA 95811. This event is free and open to the public.