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A razor-sharp memoir in which a young woman travels to Cambodia, Stockholm, and Paris to overcome the legacy of her difficult and charismatic father
When Victoria Loustalot was eight years old her father swept her up in a fantasy: a trip around the world. It was a grandiose plan and she had fallen for it. But it had never been so much as a possibility. Victoria's father was sick. He was HIV positive and soon to fall prey to AIDS. Three years later he would be gone.
When Victoria realized that the grand trip with her father wasn't going to happen, she was devastated. Her mother assumed she'd get over it, that eventually it would become just a shrug. But it didn't. In the years to come, Victoria wondered what it would have been like to have been alone with her dad all those months, to see him outside of his sickness, beyond anything related to their family or their life. To have been with him in a new context. That's what she wanted. And that's what she did.
Some fifteen years after that initial promise, Victoria went to Stockholm, to Angkor Wat, and to Paris. She went to the places they were meant to see together, and she went to make peace with her father, too. Because while he'd always be forty-four, she'd gone on accumulating birthdays. Every year, her understanding of him continued to evolve and their relationship was still alive. Victoria Loustalot felt trapped beneath all of the unanswered questions he left behind. She needed to be set free. She needed to say goodbye.
VICTORIA LOUSTALOT is a twenty-six-year-old journalist and essayist living in New York City. She earned her B.A. and M.F.A. from Columbia University. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times and The Onion as well as online for AOL, iVillage, Women’s Wear Daily, Glamour Magazine’s relationship blog “Smitten,” Brides and the recently launched Crushable among others. She also wrote The New Yorker’s daily literary blog, “The Book Bench,” in 2008 and 2009.