The roguish, hard-drinking novelist is a beloved American archetype, but one the State Department took extra care to control as an international ambassador, according to recently released documents on William Faulkner. Since the author couldn’t be counted on to responsibly manage his own drinking, the US Information Agency put together careful guidelines for a successful trip, including supervision, accommodations, and tricks to keep Faulkner’s attention....more
Posts Tagged: alcoholism
Whether glamorized or pitied, the figure of the alcoholic writer has long been a subject of cultural fascination. Having written a book on the usual suspects—Hemingway, Fitzgerald, et al.—Olivia Laing asks the unfortunately necessary follow-up question: okay, but what about the women?...more
You didn’t ask directly about gender, but I’ll answer anyway: I stuck with men for a more personal reason, which is that my experience as a child was with a female alcoholic and the subject was just too painful for me.
A few days before we left a life in New York, my then-husband drove home drunk from a bar in the Bronx...more
Alcohol and authors. It’s a subject so old and rich and fraught you could write a book on it—which is exactly what Olivia Laing did.
That book is called The Trip to Echo Spring: Why Writers Drink, and Blake Morrison’s review of it in the Guardian is itself a great essay on the subject, covering writers’ love and loathing of liquor in real life and on the page....more
Al-Anon sucked. If I hadn’t been too broke for therapy, I’d never have taken a friend’s advice to attend those awful meetings. They were worse than the AA meetings I’d been to over the years in support of my string of alcoholic boyfriends—three, if you’re keeping count....more
Joshua Mohr’s second novel returns to the seedy side of San Francisco, where the addicted and the lost search for redemption....more
Michelle Wildgen’s second novel traces the residents of a sustainable-food co-op through crises, adjustments, and reinventions....more
Robert Hass, Bush’s War, and the death of a father...more