Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir
by Alan Cumming
HarperCollins. 394 pages, $26.99
WHEN WE FIRST meet Blanche Dubois, she’s enveloped by a fog that we soon come to realize represents her clouded mental state and the impending revelations about the truths and falsehoods of her life. The actor Alan Cumming recounts in his achingly poignant memoir Not My Father’s Son of being immersed in smirr, something in Scotland that “comes off the sea and it’s not quite a rain but it’s thicker than a mist,” and “it’s miserable.”
Although Cumming is recounting an episode of “smirring” when he was a mere lad of thirteen and afraid that he’d been abandoned by his father at a showground in a town distant from his own, we come to realize that even now, as a fifty-year-old man, the Scottish actor remains fearful of that particular weather condition.