The Man Who Was Not There: A Writer’s Memoir of Self

  • Peter Unwin York University


The story begins in a kitchen with an ashtray on the table. The ashtray is congealed with the ash of my mother’s cigarettes. She is barely real, my mother, but more real than me. It was her who filled the ashtray with her cigarettes; the Players Navy Cut without filters, with the rugged, bearded sailor on the front. In my story, I once wrote that I believed this man on the front of the cigarette package was my father (my father was in the navy, he must be that man!), but those were just words that I wrote, and I don’t think I ever believed this man was my father. He was just a cartoon man painted on the front of a package of cigarettes that my mother smoked...