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JR Moehringer grew up listening for a voice, the voice of his missing father, a disc jockey who disappeared before JR spoke his first words. As a boy, JR would press his ear to a battered clock radio, straining to hear in that resonant voice the secrets of identity and masculinity. When the voice disappeared, JR found new voices in the bar on the corner. A grand old New York saloon, the bar was a sanctuary for all sorts of men -- cops and poets, actors and lawyers, gamblers and stumblebums. The flamboyant characters along the bar taught JR, tended him, and provided a kind of fatherhood by committee. Torn between his love for his mother and the lure of the bar, JR forged a boyhood somewhere in the middle. When the time came to leave home, the bar became a way station -- from JR's entrance to Yale, where he floundered as a scholarship student; to Lord & Taylor, where he spent a humbling stint peddling housewares; to the New York Times, where he became a faulty cog in a vast machine. The bar offered shelter from failure, from rejection, and eventually from reality, until at last the bar turned JR away. In the rich tradition of bestselling memoirs about self-invention, THE TENDER BAR is by turns riveting, moving, and achingly funny. An evocative portrait of one boy's struggle to become a man, it's also a touching depiction of how some men remain lost boys.

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