We are excited to be publishing the memoir, The Funeral Papers, by Josh Gross in the summer of 2016!
The Funeral Papers begins at the funeral of Josh’s estranged father, Arnie, where Josh is given a manila envelope stuffed with the complete output of Arnie’s elusive writing career, texts Josh previously believed to be non-existent.
Arnie was a terrible father, an absentee weirdo who played tricks on Josh in order to teach him questionable life lessons. Arnie was lazy, enigmatic, and frustrating. Josh was the sort of kid who knew how to throw a few good jabs of his own. He hoped his father’s writing could shed light on how things had gone wrong between him and his father. But when Josh finally reads it, he goes into a tailspin.
The memoir moves from Arnie’s stories, articles, and poetry about the 1970s Sausalito houseboat community to Josh’s commentary on the writing, then to scenes of Josh and Arnie’s relationship and back again. Throughout, Josh grapples with his responses to his father's writing, which uncover old wounds but also cast a different light on some pivotal memories. Josh realizes he is simultaneously competitive with, embarrassed of, and proud of his father. He also realizes — to his horror — that despite his efforts to the contrary, he and his father chose the same profession, the same lifestyle, and the same types of friends. They even look the same.
The Funeral Papers is strange, raw, and surprisingly relatable. The process of muddling through his father’s writing forces Josh to examine himself, providing a fascinating look at the struggle toward forgiveness, or at least closure. Deep in the push and pull of opposite forces — dependence and independence, vulnerability and strength, knowledge and mystery — Josh creates a dialog with his dead father’s writing, exploring whether or not it is possible to heal the wounds created by years of anger and misunderstanding.