I think it probably is the most central or informative part of my childhood, is what I didn’t know about it. And as friends and critics have been saying of my novels for some time, I’ve been inventing that missing parent, that absent father, in one novel after another. It was both a surprise, but an easing of a burden when, in the middle of the novel I just finished — which I began in 1998 and finished only this spring — in 2002, in December of 2002, in the middle of that book, which was, once again, a “missing father” novel, I was contacted by a 39-year-old man named Chris Blunt, who said, “There’s a possible chance that I might be your brother.” And of course, I knew it was not a possible chance at all, but a likelihood. And I since have met two brothers and a sister I didn’t know about, and I found out more about this man who died five years before Chris found me. And the coincidences of the father I was imagining — who was waiting for me to finish my story in the last two chapters of this novel — the actual father turned out to have some similarities to the man I had already imagined.