“Cures for Hunger: A Memoir” by Deni Y. Béchard
Posted by: Misha Stone
Full disclosure–I went to school with this author and even took writing classes with him. But reading Deni Y. Béchard’s memoir, Cures for Hunger, only showed me how little I knew about him. This is all the more remarkable considering we went to college on a campus with less than 300 students.
Cures for Hunger begins with a story of how Béchard’s father would race trains with him and his brother in the truck and stop on the tracks, tempting death and danger. Deni’s father always had a hard, dangerous edge to him. He raised Deni to be tough, describing life as one fistfight after another. But it’s not until Deni’s mother leaves his father and their hardscrabble existence in British Columbia for a new life in Virginia that Béchard learns that his father was a bank robber.
His father’s life of crime becomes the central focus of his life and fuels his restlessness and forced emancipation, even as he tries to carve out spaces in his life of which his father does not approve or understand like his desire to read and write and finish school.
Cures for Hunger is a spare, raw, haunting memoir about living in the shadow of an enigmatic man. Béchard’s debut novel, Vandal Love, which won the Commonwealth Prize in 2007, was also released in the U.S. by Milkweed with the publication of his memoir. Vandal Love just received a particularly glowing review in O Magazine. Deni Y. Béchard is a writer to watch.