Christopher Buckley predicts that his forthcoming memoir about his late parents will disappoint anyone who was expecting a hatchet job, said James Reginato in W. Sure, he reveals that his father, conservative icon William F. Buckley Jr., was sometimes remote. About a year before his 2008 death, the elder Buckley dismissed his only child’s newest comic novel with an e-mail that read: “This one didn’t work for me. Sorry.” Christopher also describes his New York social-queen mother, Patricia, who died in 2007, as a problem drinker and serial fibber with a strong mean streak. There were times, he says now, when he would “rather have supped with al Qaida in a guano-strewn cave.” But Losing Mum and Pup, which will be published next month, doesn’t dwell on his parents’ flaws.
Buckley describes writing the book as a way of extending his time with both of them, said John Heilpern in Vanity Fair. The memoir “is a love story,” he says. “It just happens to be, like many love stories, a complex one.” He wrote the manuscript in just 40 days: “It was a reimmersion, an intense communion, with their ghosts.” But the result is hardly dreary, since those ghosts so often prove entertaining. “My mother had a delicious, highly developed sense of the absurd,” he says, which influenced his own. Besides an amusing and affecting book, Buckley got solace from the process. “I feel,” he says, “very much at peace with their memories.”