Hugging My Father's Ghost

Zack Rogow


ISBN 978-1-959556-81-7       236 pages        $25.00


In this memoir, Zack Rogow tries to solve the mystery of the father he never knew. Lee Rogow was a widely published fiction writer, drama critic for the Hollywood Reporter, glamorous man-about-town in Manhattan of the 1950s, captain of a submarine-chaser in World War II—and he died tragically in a plane crash when his son Zack was only three years old.


For decades, grief kept Zack from looking closely at his father’s writings. In Hugging My Father’s Ghost, Zack delves into his father’s unpublished work and unearths treasures. The memoir includes Lee Rogow’s most intimate writings that have never seen the light of day. Those pages reveal intriguing secrets about Zack’s parents and their complex connections to the couple their children knew as godparents. The memoir intersperses Zack’s father’s writings, Zack’s reflections on his parents and the Greatest Generation, and imaginary conversations between his father and himself. The book blends laugh-out-loud humor with sharp pathos, while dealing with the pressures on immigrant families and how those impacted the fates of his parents.

This is a moving story of grief, genius, and laughter, beautifully told. And a good read!

      —Robert Pinsky, U.S. Poet Laureate 1997–2000,

and author of Jersey Breaks


A sweetly forlorn recounting of a special time in New York, a zestful collaboration between the living and the dead, an aching tale of loss, and a revelation of secrets and lies that undergirded the author's family dynamics. Zack Rogow has gone the distance in this compelling probe.

      —Phillip Lopate,

author and editor of The Art of the Personal Essay


I could hardly put down this engrossing memoir and fascinating journey of discovery of the author’s father, who died when he was only three. Father, like son, was a writer, and his stories, both published and unpublished, offer a way to know the man. Zack Rogow brilliantly expands this memoir to encompass two full portraits: both father and son. At the same time, we witness Rogow’s daring inquiry into a relationship missed and grieved for over decades.

     —Judith Barrington, author of Writing the Memoir


Zack Rogow is the author, editor, or translator of more than twenty books and works for the theater. His play Colette Uncensored, had its first staged reading at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and ran in London, Indonesia, Catalonia, San Francisco, and Portland. His honors include the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize; the Lili Fabilli-Eric Hoffer Essay Prize from University of California, Berkeley; and the Celestine Award for Poetry from Holy Names University. Rogow’s blog, Advice for Writers, features more than 275 posts. His literary translations from French include works by Colette, George Sand, André Breton, and Marcel Pagnol.