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The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and…

The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking

by Olivia Laing

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A REALLY good look at alcholism. interesting, informative ( )
  mahallett | Aug 4, 2017 |
While the subject matter totally grabbed me and enticed me to read this book, I'm afraid the content didn't live up to my expectations. I wasn't that interested in the author's that were chosen to analyze, which is my own issue, and the secondary story about Laing's journey across America i found not that riveting. It just wasn't for me, but I'm sure others will enjoy it. ( )
  Iambookish | Dec 14, 2016 |
This is one of those "think I'll read a few pages of this" books that pulled me in and captivated me from start to finish. There's no easy way to categorize this book, as it includes literary criticism, biography, memoir, reflections on addiction and recovery...and much more that I'm not thinking of right now. Laing expertly weaves all this together, looking at the role of addiction in the lives and works of six writers (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, John Cheever, Raymond Carver), She never talks down to the reader, nor does she trivialize her subjects; she doesn't oversimplify, but neither does she needlessly complicate matters when a direct approach is needed. She is willing to call out cowardice in these writers' lives and she is also generous in pointing out courage. The book is not only about recovery; it is as if she has internalized the twelve steps within the writing itself, seeking what is true as best she can, behind all of our posturing and all of our justifications and all of our excuses (speaking as an addict in recovery myself). Nicely done. ( )
  bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
I couldn't finish this book. It sounded good but I was bored. Didn't make it through the second chapter before I sent it back to the library. ( )
  Icepacklady | Jun 3, 2015 |
Eloquent study of alcoholism as analyzed, rationalized, denied and variously owned by six brilliant alcoholic writers: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Cheever, Raymond Carver and John Berryman. Less an overarching study of why so many writers abuse alcohol than an intimate examination of why these particular men did and how they articulated their struggles. But that's here, too: "Hunger, liquor, need, pieces, wrote. A sense was building in me that there was a hidden relationship between the two strategies of writing and drinking and that both had to do with a feeling that something precious had gone to pieces, and a desire at once to mend it--to give it fitness and shape, in Cheever's phrase--and to deny that it was so. Hence those obsessive retellings: hence Nagasakit, Nick Adams, Henry Pussycat, Dick Diver, Estabrook and Coverley." Would've preferred a bit less autobiography, but as odyssey, the road trip works--and is beautifully written. ( )
  beaujoe | May 1, 2015 |
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Laing examines the link between creativity and alcohol through the work and lives of six of America's finest writers.

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