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The Removers: A Memoir Hardcover – July 15, 2014
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"Powerful...Meredith writes with plainspoken grace and easy humor... Meredith meditates on failure and family with an honesty so raw it’s almost painful. What makes this memoir ultimately rewarding is its steadfast testimony of Meredith’s progress toward becoming the kind of man he wants to be. " (Boston Globe)
"This book is good. It’s also gruesome, wryly humorous, beautiful and horrible, all at the same time.... So wrapped up was I in this book at that point that I realized I’d been holding my breath. That’s a sure sign of a good read and a good reason to look for this memoir. For anyone who relishes a shadowy coming-of-age story, “The Removers” is one you won’t be able to remove from your hands." (Myrtle Beach Sun News)
"Flawless... With its lyrical language and strong sense of place The Removers is rollicking fun, even when what it's describing is ghastly - and with its East Coast-gothic backdrop, it practically begs to be translated into a film." (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
"A darkly funny memoir about family reckonings." (O Magazine)
"Meredith’s memoir of how his life was affected by his father’s transgression is itself poetic, and he tucks his bittersweet childhood memories between tales of removals as carefully as the death certificates he slips between the bodies he picks up and the stretcher-like contraption that transports each body to the waiting vehicle." (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
"Dark and bleak and funny and utterly Philly... a tour de force" (Philadelphia Magazine)
"This memoir is much more alive than the bodies it describes—rich in language and delicate in its portrayal of a son who suddenly sees his father as imperfect yet irredeemably human." (Library Journal)
"Poignant...bittersweet, but also frequently, improbably hilarious...This book will ring true to anyone who ever yearned to grow up, only to find that coming of age is more painful and beautiful than they ever imagined." (BookPage)
"Potent." (Publishers Weekly)
"A coming-of-age memoir within a morbidly unconventional context." (Kirkus)
“You might be forgiven, at first, if you believe that the book in your hands is about creatures from another planet (We are nobodies. We are men made to be forgotten. We are paid to be invisible.). Prepare yourself—as you wander more deeply into this brightly-lit, finely wrought nightmare, the mirrors start appearing. Sex and death might propel the story forward, but by the end Andrew Meredith peals back the night to reveal what we are made of. The removers are not only among us, they are us. A tour-de-force whispered from the shadows.” (Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City)
“The Removers is for anyone whose adolescence has taken too long, whose hands need useful work, or who wants to put his family grudges away and get on with the rewards of adult life—such as the wicked laughs and the sweet, tender, singing prose of this wonderful book.” (Salvatore Scibona, author of The End)
“The Removers is angry and forgiving, sometimes hideous, tough, emotionally compelling, and important. Andrew Meredith comes of age, struggles, and survives in the disintegrating blue-collar environs of Philadelphia. This book can unlock doors. Get your hands on it right away.” (William Kittredge, author of Hole in the Sky)
“Andrew Meredith writes with the eye of a poet and the heart of a man transformed. The Removers brims with moments of unforgettable beauty and raw honesty.” (Michael Hainey, author of After Visiting Friends)
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The author holds nothing back, from the turmoil of his family, his first and many sexual dalliances, growing up in the dilapidated Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood of Frankford, dropping out of college at his junior year, drifting from one place to another and his inability to hold on to a job. Jobless, rudderless and with no immediate prospects, Andrew returns back home; where in the meantime his father is now employed as a teacher in Camden and works as a "remover" to supplement his income.
Andrew is hired by his father’s employer, the Livery of Frankford, as a remover; to carry, transport and deliver dead bodies from their place of death to the morgue, mortuary or crematorium - where they are dissected, embalmed or cremated. The author’s descriptive narrative of his experiences as a “remover” and later on, at the crematorium, is at once sombre, grotesque and sometimes humourous. =No spoilers=
Working alongside his father, Andrew’s childhood resentment gradually changes into acceptance of the man’s foibles, and even admiration, “If I’d just met him on the job, he would’ve been my favorite guy to work with”. He has found redemption and absolution in life through the prism of inevitable death.Read more ›
The writing is good. For instance, visualize as you read this, "At the rec center baseball diamond across the street, screams of "Go!" follow an aluminum plink. At the corner, tulips in yellow, red, violet, planted to partition the sidewalk from a tiny row house lawn, salute a crew-cut man in a tank top, gold crucifix swinging as he soapy-sponges his four-wheeled stereo." Beautiful painting of Americana, right? Just imagine how these words wrap around decayed dead bodies. Yeah, my thoughts exactly. I wanted more. About dead bodies, this book is not for the squeamish. You'll read as the author describes a three-week-old body that "feels like squeezing a Ziploc bag filled with tomato sauce." Or, of the crematorium, "the smell of burning meat, or worse, boiling rivulets of body fat leaking out the front door of the machine, dripping down into the processing pan and onto the floor, leaving a grotesque cleanup task and an aromatic cocktail of chalk dust, basement mold, and the burnt black drippings in a roast pan." Yummy. There's maybe ten such descriptions in the whole book. That's it.
A majority of the book is kumbaya with the friends, family, and neighbors. That's okay, I like that kind of stuff (even though I wanted a higher percentage of bodies). As you can see, the author is quite talented with words, but what drove me batty was his method of mashing topics together. One paragraph he'd be describing hoeing through body parts in the burner, the very next paragraph he'd continue a story about his father touching young college girls.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a memoir about how the consequences of one decision can affect the lives of many. When Andrew Meredith was a teenager, his father was fired from his job teaching for vague,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Nancy A
It was interesting. Not for the faint of heart. Pretty graphic and honestly real.Published 2 months ago by Nanja G. Stevens
Many years ago, my husband had a part-time job as a Remover. He had lots of interesting stories to tell so I was hoping for 'The Removers' to carry on where my husband left off. Read morePublished 5 months ago by pegmcdaniel
I read this book swiftly and found it interesting, if not a bit disjointed. There was alternatively a ton of description and then I found myself wondering more about some of the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Nikki Murray
This is really a terrific little book, deceptively simply written, an easy read, but not empty calories at all. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Diana
This is a deeply thought-provoking, well-written Memoir about a young man's childhood and family. Torn apart by his father's dismissal from La Salle University and his family's... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Aim1107
A beautifully written memoir...I can't analyze why and how it happened but the book just crept right in and kept me engaged the whole way through, I look forward to this writer's... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amy in L.A.
Very well written. Since I lived in this neighborhood, it was especially interesting. Also gave good insight into the funeral business (especially cremation).Published 10 months ago by Barbara Green