Cover image for Where the sky ends : a memoir of alcohol and family
Where the sky ends : a memoir of alcohol and family
Stephens, Michael Gregory.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Center City, Minn. : Hazelden Information & Educational Services, [1999]

Physical Description:
125 pages ; 19 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV5293.S74 A3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This is a memoir of a working-class, Irish-American New York family. The book is structured around a plane trip Stephens takes with his siblings to attend their father's funeral in Florida. As Stephens struggles to stay sober during the trip, the family past is revealed as the author comes to grips with the mixed legacy his father left him.

Author Notes

Michael Gregory Stephens, poet, playwright, novelist, and award-winning essayist, lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is a writer-in-residence at Emerson College and a winner of the Associated Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Stephens takes us through the haze four alcoholic brothers experience as they travel from New York to Florida for their father's funeral. The original purveyor of the family legacy of alcohol abuse, the father has died of an assortment of conditions brought on by the disease. Before, during, and after the funeral, the brothers seem to be both pulling together and coming apart. Tom, the youngest, seems to have a mental disorder (oddly unnamed or perhaps undiagnosed), in addition to the alcoholism. He provides the few humorous moments as he starts up conversations with total strangers along the way and tells them every personal detail about the family "problems." Throughout, Stephens conveys the often bitter, always colorful, memories of his father's brawling, drinking, and general negative influence on his family. This is a portrait of alcoholic children of alcoholics coming to grips with their family legacy--at the same time they must also wage a minute-by-minute battle to avoid taking a drink. --Marlene Chamberlain

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
1. The Deadp. 3
2. Where the Sky Endsp. 21
3. Who You Arep. 33
4. O Floridap. 49
5. Meditation on the Harpp. 65
6. Clearwater Bluesp. 81
7. The Amendsp. 97
8. The Gratitudep. 107
9. Prayer for My Fatherp. 121
10. The Meetingp. 131
11. Farewell to the Chiefp. 147
About the Authorp. 169