Oliver, Anna Cypra 1969(?)–
Oliver, Anna Cypra 1969(?)–
PERSONAL: Born c. 1969; daughter of Lewis Weinberger; married (divorced). Education: University of Minnesota, M.F.A.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Houghton Mifflin Company, Trade Division, Adult Editorial, 8th Fl., 222 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116-3764.
AWARDS, HONORS: New York Foundation of the Arts fellowship.
Assembling My Father: A Daughter's Detective Story, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Anna Cypra Oliver is the author of Assembling My Father: A Daughter's Detective Story, a book about the author's deceased father, her own life, and her journey to discover more about her parent. As the reader learns, Oliver's father, Lewis Weinberger, committed suicide in a primitive cabin outside of Taos, New Mexico, in 1974, when Oliver was only five years old and living in Colorado with her mother and stepfather. For years, Oliver knew little about her father other than the fact that he had been trained as an architect and was highly intelligent. She became interested in finding out more about him after finding some papers in a trunk and experiencing a low period in her life epitomized by the loss of her Christian faith. In 1995, Oliver set out to piece together the puzzle that was her father's life. She had her father's old journal to help her begin her quest and was soon talking with his friends and family members. What she discoverd is both good and bad. Although highly intelligent, her father was also heavily into drugs, including possibly smuggling and selling them. But she also learned from old friends who respected him that her father, who was from an intellectual Jewish family, was a good friend with a quick wit. The book also reveals much about Oliver's own life and struggles, including her strained relationship with her stepfather and her own marriage, which ends in divorce.
To tell her story, Oliver employs old photographs, pages from her father's journal, newspaper clippings, and e-mails. A Kirkus Reviews contributor noted, "Oliver's structure is part scrapbook, part narrative, part mosaic, part meta-memoir." The reviewer also called the book "an emotional demonstration that Humpty Dumpty can be put together again." Writing in Booklist, Donna Seaman commented, "Oliver depicts the '60s as a time of wrenching change and toxic self-medication, and reveals the inextricable pull of genetics." Valeda Dent wrote in the Library Journal that the author's "emotionally challenging, eye-opening quest yields a well-structured, vivid picture of countercultural life in the 1960s and 1970s," where a Publishers Weekly contributor commented: "Oliver's memorial to her elusive dad—and the way researching and writing it changes her own identity—is unforgettable."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Oliver, Anna Cypra, Assembling My Father: A Daughter's Detective Story, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2005.
Albuquerque Journal, September 5, 2004, David Steinberg, review of Assembling My Father: A Daughter's Detective Story.
Booklist, August, 2004, Donna Seaman, review of Assembling My Father, p. 1882.
Boston Globe, September 19, 2004, Kate Bolick, review of Assembling My Father.
Entertainment Weekly, August 6, 2004, Emily Mead, review of Assembling My Father, p. 87.
Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2004, review of Assembling My Father, p. 569.
Library Journal, September 1, 2004, Valeda Dent, review of Assembling My Father, p. 162.
Publishers Weekly, June 7, 2004, review of Assembling My Father, p. 41.