‘A wise, mild and enviably lucid book about a chaotic scene’ – Dwight Garner, New York Times
‘Memoirs of fatherhood are rarely so honest or so blunt’ – Daniel Engber, Atlantic
‘Raising Raffi is tender and generous’ – New York magazine
Keith Gessen had always assumed that he would have kids, but couldn’t imagine what parenthood would be like, nor what kind of parent he would be. Then, one Tuesday night in early June, Raffi was born, a child as real and complex and demanding of his parents’ energy as he was singularly magical.
Fatherhood is another country: a place where the old concerns are swept away, where the ordering of time is reconstituted, where days unfold according to a child’s needs. Like all parents, Gessen wants to do what is best for his child. But he has no idea what that is.
Written over the first five years of Raffi’s life, Raising Raffi examines the profound, overwhelming, often maddening experience of being a dad. How do you instil in your child a sense of his heritage without passing on that history’s darker sides? Is parental anger normal, possibly useful, or is it inevitably destructive? And what do you do, in a pandemic, when the whole world seems to fall apart? By turns hilarious and poignant, Raising Raffi is a story of what it means to invent the world anew.