The Canals of Mars by Gary Fincke
A Memoir

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The Canals of Mars is a memoir that explores and ponders "weakness," which in Gary Fincke's family was the catch-all term for every possible human flaw-physical, psychological, or spiritual. Fincke grew up near Pittsburgh during the 1950s and 1960s, raised by blue-collar parents for whom the problems that beset people-from alcoholism to nearsightedness to asthma to fear of heights-were nothing but weaknesses.
     In a highly engaging style, Fincke meditates on the disappointments he suffered-in his body, his mind, his work-because he was convinced that he had to be "perfect." Anything less than perfection was weakness and no one, he understood from an early age, wants to be weak.
     Six of the chapters in the book have been cited in Best American Essays. The chapter that provides the book's title, The Canals of Mars, won a Pushcart Prize and was included in The Pushcart Book of Essays: The Best Essays from a Quarter Century of the Pushcart Prize.


About Gary Fincke

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Published March 2, 2010 by Michigan State University Press. 243 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Canals of Mars

The Canals of Mars follows Fincke as he wrestles with childhood, the existence of God, his own bouts with heavy drinking in college and his days in the Heinz Ketchup factory, but always lurking in the background is his father, the engine of much of the book’s tension, always demanding so much of ...

May 28 2010 | Read Full Review of The Canals of Mars: A Memoir