On November 28, 1979, accomplished Navy pilot Peter Rodrick died when his plane crashed in the Indian Ocean, leaving behind a devastated wife, two daughters, and a thirteen-year-old son. In The Magical Stranger, Stephen Rodrick explores the life and death of the man who indelibly shaped his life, even as he remained a mystery: brilliant but unknowable, sacred but absent-an apparition gone 200 days of the year for much of his young son's life-a born leader who gave his son little direction. Through adolescence and into adulthood, Rodrick struggled to fully grasp the reality of his father's death and its permanence. Peter's picture and memory haunted the family home, but his name was rarely mentioned.
Stephen Rodrick is a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine and also a contributing editor at Men's Journal. His writing has been anthologized in The Best American Sports Writing, The Best American Crime Reporting, and The Best American Political Writing. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
A moving and powerful story of love and sacrifice, fathers and sons, heroism and duty, soldiers and the families they leave behind, in which a writer--the son of an accomplished Navy pilot killed on duty--uses his own experience to illuminate the triumphs and tragedies of a life in military service.