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.
On November 28, 1979, squadron commander and Navy pilot Peter Rodrick died when his plane crashed in the Indian Ocean. He was just thirty-six and had been the commanding officer of his squadron for 127 days.