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.
Geoffrey Wolff is the author of six novels and six works of nonfiction, including the memoir The Duke of Deception, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. In 1994 he received the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. From 1995 to 2006, he directed the Graduate Program in Writing at the University of California, Irvine. For his writing, he has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Academy in Berlin. He lives in Bath, Maine.
Abundant with the complexities and contradictions of family sympathy...First-rate autobiography, conscientious and intimate....It is as lucid and complicated...as a good novel."
-- John Irving, The New York Times Book Review
"An enormously moving story of familial love and hate and coming-of-age...No man can finish this book without resolving to take stock of his relationship with his own father....The claim on the reader is very large indeed."
"Beautifully written...rich in anecdote...resonant with conflicting emotions, from adoration to anger, from gratitude to guilt, from pride to pity."