Augusten Burroughs | Books | Massachusetts | News | Towleroad TV

Towleroad TV: Augusten Burroughs at Home in Massachusetts

Augusten_burroughs

Our Towleroad TV team Josh Helmin and Josh Koll paid a visit to author Augusten Burroughs at his home in Amherst, Massachusetts where he lives with his partner Dennis and their two French bulldogs. Burroughs opened up about his new book, A Wolf at the Table, his tattoos, and his next big project.

Watch our latest segment, AFTER THE JUMP...

Previously on TOWLEROAD TV
Mario Lopez on A Chorus Line, His New Book, and Gay Fans [tr]
Christopher Rice on Death Threats and His New Thriller Blind Fall [tr]

*note: St. Martin's Press is a Towleroad advertiser.

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Comments

  1. He's so damn cute...oh and funny and interesting and all those other things...

    Posted by: Todd | May 5, 2008 10:23:49 AM


  2. Hi, your site is amazing.
    Your site is now linked to mine.
    Can you please add a link of my site to?

    Thanks
    Jorge

    Posted by: Algarvegay | May 5, 2008 10:27:30 AM


  3. Nice glasses Josh.

    Posted by: Christopher M | May 5, 2008 10:38:42 AM


  4. I've read all of his stuff...even when writes for magazines...he's great! I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get his stuff in Honduras, though. Damn.

    Posted by: Todd | May 5, 2008 10:56:34 AM


  5. What a great way to turn readers of to an author, show him at home talking about himself constantly. Josh’s home looks like to spinster sister members of the DAR live there. Josh's affection for eyeglasses that are too small for his head and those shiteous tattoos (nothing says white trash like a tattoo, unless it’s another tattoo). His whole image reminds me of a geriatric female wearing Betsy Johnson clown wear fashions.

    Posted by: ggreen | May 5, 2008 12:02:41 PM


  6. sorry got his name wrong.

    Posted by: ggreen | May 5, 2008 12:06:17 PM


  7. Huh? I think it's time for Ggreen to put the crack pipe down.

    Posted by: doug | May 5, 2008 12:21:47 PM


  8. It's totally a matter of taste -- but I find Augusten Burroughs to be one of the worst writers of our, or any other, generation. It's artless, cliched, and showy. And super duper really not funny. Like, at all. Like, Eli Wiesel is funnier than Augusten Burroughs.

    Also, when one is only in one's 40s, maybe not so much with almost half-a-dozen memoirs. It also really bugged that he doesn't read in the genre he writes in. He tried to play it off as personal taste -- "I don't read diet books...I don't read Westerns..." -- but he's also not writing diet books or Westerns. Yet. Of course, in his twelfth memoir, he'll write about the time he was a dietician at a dude ranch in Wyoming.

    And finally, speaking of dude ranches, what up with the hoe-down music around the 3:00 minute mark?

    Posted by: Mike B. | May 5, 2008 12:23:05 PM


  9. A) I had no idea Augusten Burroughs was such a queen.

    B) Tattoos look great on some guys. On other men, not so much.

    C) It's interesting to me that Burroughs describes his father as a sociopath. Following the publication of "Running With Scissors", which Burroughs claimed was a memoir of his childhood spent living with his mother's psychiatrist and the psychiatrist's family, Burroughs and his publisher, St. Martin's press, were sued by the family for damages for invasion of privacy, defamation and emotional distress. The suit was settled and, among the terms of the settlement, Burroughs agreed to refer to the work in the author's note as a 'book' instead of as a memoir and to change the acknowledgment page to indicate that the family who took him in has memories that conflict with what Burroughs wrote about them. Burroughs then promptly stated that the book was an entirely accurate memoir. It sounds to me like a case of the clutch purse calling the pumps taupe.

    Posted by: peterparker | May 5, 2008 12:34:29 PM


  10. That was a terrible interview, and a terrible video. Augusten is fine; although I've read all his other works, I have no interest in reading this one. Yet another memoir? Another one? Really?

    Josh H is not a good interviewer; the video was poorly edited, and Josh H. is so wooden and stilted. What was that music toward the end? It was so loud, you could barely hear Augusten speaking.

    Josh K. might be ok as a filmmaker, but Josh H. needs to stick to writing and stay away from the front of the camera.

    Posted by: Matthew | May 5, 2008 12:39:13 PM


  11. Way unimpressed...I'm with GGreen.

    Posted by: Bojo | May 5, 2008 12:41:56 PM


  12. That was ... really, really bad. But the full disclosure *St. Martin's Press is a Towleroad advertiser was funny.

    Posted by: Brian | May 5, 2008 1:28:29 PM


  13. He should work on being a vignettist like Gene Shepard or Spalding Grey.

    Posted by: anon | May 5, 2008 1:33:12 PM


  14. Why does anyone care how many memoirs he writes? He has an interesting life. And really he has only written 3 (including the new one). The other two (Magical Thinking and Possible Side Effects)are really just a collection of funny short stories. It's no different than that one story everyone has that the tell over and over again because it's hilarious.

    I will agree though, that the twangy music towards the end was AWFUl! Why? Did they not want us to hear him talking?

    Posted by: Jeni | May 5, 2008 1:49:54 PM


  15. "Why does anyone care how many memoirs he writes? He has an interesting life."

    Well, for one thing, there is a lot of evidence that he actually *doesn't* have an interesting life. It could be alleged that he has an interesting imagination. Too much of what Burroughs writes doesn't pass the sniff test -- for me, anyway.

    "And really he has only written 3 (including the new one). The other two (Magical Thinking and Possible Side Effects)are really just a collection of funny short stories."

    That's not how Burroughs and Co. are marketing those. He considers them all non-fiction/memoirs. The only book in the Burroughs canon that he considers fiction is "Sellovision."

    And again, I just can't stress how unfunny I think he is as a writer.

    Posted by: Mike B. | May 5, 2008 2:26:29 PM


  16. UGH..that was really, really lame.
    A self-involved, annoying, one-book pony being interviewed by a wooden, lame, generic homo "journo". Save us, PLEASE!

    Posted by: Zack | May 5, 2008 2:31:35 PM


  17. Mike B,
    Please provide your "evidence."

    You can't just throw out a bullshit line like that without something to back it up.

    Posted by: crispy | May 5, 2008 3:25:30 PM


  18. "Mike B,
    Please provide your 'evidence.'"

    PeterParker above mentions one of the pieces of evidence: the suit raised by the family Burroughs lived with during "Running with Scissors." Burroughs paid the family out of court and agreed to amend the labeling of "RwS" so that it's not classified as a memoir.

    There was a recent profile in New York Magazine (http://nymag.com/arts/books/features/46475/) that expresses some doubts about the events in several of Burroughs's books. (At issue is Burroughs's memory. I would argue that he could have a super-freaky memory and still write page upon page of lies because they sell better.)

    There's also this post from Gawker.com: http://gawker.com/5006833/augusten-burroughs-dad-the-rashomon-of-abusive-fathers which calls into question an event from Burroughs's current book.

    Again -- I don't like him. So I'm not suggesting I'm an unbiased arbiter of Burroughs's honesty. For me, I find these incidents enough proof to say that he's creating events for the sake of creating events.

    Posted by: Mike B. | May 5, 2008 3:46:55 PM


  19. That's some rather convincing... ahem... 'evidence' there, Mike.

    The suit was groundless. They walked away with a 'clarification' in future editions because they knew the suit was meritless. And if you actually read the article in NY Mag, you'd probably understand what the author was getting at with his questions about the potential truthiness of Burrough's work. Obviously the point went right over your head.

    And anybody who cites gawker.com for evidentiary purposes probably isn't the best arbiter of truthfulness.

    Posted by: Dan | May 5, 2008 3:56:10 PM


  20. "The suit was groundless."

    I'll take you at your word. Clearly you have inside information. No doubt you were the judge on the case. Or one of the attorneys. Or your the personification of Truth. It's probably the last one.

    "Obviously the point went right over your head."

    You're also probably right about my inability to read and comprehend. No doubt I didn't read the article. I rubbed myself with it vigorously.

    However, as far as the suit goes -- he paid the family off. Either he paid them off to just get the whole thing done because it was easier than going to trial or he paid them off to get the whole thing done because he knew that he'd have a tough time proving the "truthfulness" of his memoir.

    And the NYM article raises interesting questions about Burroughs's memory. What Augusten chooses to remember appear to be, to me at any rate, things not easily checkable. He can't remember what was playing at a movie theater because there's a record that could contradict his memory. I also think it's interesting that he waits until after his father died to put this particular memoir out.

    And as far as using Gawker as a source -- my hope was that people would go to the follow-up links:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/24/books/24burr.html?ref=arts

    http://www.augusten.com/wolf_chapter.pdf

    Posted by: Mike B. | May 5, 2008 4:05:55 PM


  21. All of the items you provided, including the lawsuit, are little more than disputes from other people. That's not evidence. That's just he said/she said. And nearly all of it comes from people with questionable mental capacity including one person who has a mild case of autism.

    No one has ever been able to provide actual evidence that Burroughs is lying. In fact, most of the profiles about him support the events described in his books. Sure, he makes up dialog and specific details... but that's what a memoir is. It's his memory of how those things happened.

    Posted by: crispy | May 5, 2008 4:09:23 PM


  22. "It's his memory of how those things happened."

    Maybe that's my beef with the memoir as a genre. Like Burroughs, I don't read them either. Memory is too fallible, and false memories are too easily created.

    I also want to reiterate all the "I" statements I've used, or tried to use, in this argument. I'm not saying that I, Mike B., have secret documents that prove that Burroughs is a lying gasbag. However, my own life-experience coupled with my (apparently addled, according to Dan) reading comprehension, makes my Spidey-senses tingle whenever I read accounts by Burroughs of his own life.

    Your counter argument that "no one has ever been able to provide actual evidence that Burroughs is lying" begs the question, though. It's as if you're setting up Burroughs's texts as the truth. Why are they they truth? Because he says they are? And the fact that a full trial didn't happen also makes it difficult for any of us on either side to feel like we have all the evidence.

    Posted by: Mike Bevel | May 5, 2008 4:18:11 PM


  23. Mike -

    I'm not an inside guy, and I'm certainly not the personification of truth. However, I think that if you're gonna run out there and call somebody a liar, the burden of proof falls on you to support that claim.

    You're leveling some serious allegations without providing solid evidence to back up those allegations. In my book, that kinda makes you a jackass. Or Perez Hilton.

    Take you pick.

    Posted by: Dan | May 5, 2008 4:26:00 PM


  24. "In my book, that kinda makes you a jackass. Or Perez Hilton."

    Can't I be both? Isn't being gay all about limitless options? Unfettered choices? Like, for instance, I wouldn't make you choose between an unimaginative douche or a hyperbolic straw-man-builder. In my world, you're both.

    As a reader -- however flawed I may be as one -- I am choosing to believe the evidence I've presented as being evidence of duplicitousness. I find the settling out of court business fishy. I find his sometimes-perfect-sometimes-not memory to be questionable. And I find the shifty gray area of "memoir" to be an easy place for writers like Burroughs to hide behind.

    Posted by: Mike B. | May 5, 2008 4:36:59 PM


  25. Hey Mike,
    If you just don't like memoirs, I kinda get that. Definitely not everyone's cup of tea. Whenever I read Burroughs (or Sedaris), I just enjoy the stories but I certainly don't fool myself into believe every line of dialog happened just as the author tells it.

    But give Burroughs a break. He's definitely not James Frey!

    Posted by: crispy | May 5, 2008 4:48:12 PM


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