Losing Everything

Losing Everything

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by David Lozell Martin
     
 

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In Losing Everything, his first book of nonfiction, acclaimed novelist David Lozell Martin tells his wildest, most outlandish story yet — his own.

One evening in the mountainous forest of his isolated West Virginia farmhouse, Martin became disoriented when searching for a horse who had wandered off the property. Wading through the dark and guiding

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Overview

In Losing Everything, his first book of nonfiction, acclaimed novelist David Lozell Martin tells his wildest, most outlandish story yet — his own.

One evening in the mountainous forest of his isolated West Virginia farmhouse, Martin became disoriented when searching for a horse who had wandered off the property. Wading through the dark and guiding his horse with a belt around its neck, Martin felt as though every step was taking him deeper into the mountains. Instead, he unknowingly spent the night walking in a wide circle that brought him back to where he started. This quickly became a metaphor for Martin's life. "The more lost I get, the closer to home I come."

After growing up with a violent father who nearly killed Martin's clinically insane mother, Martin pursued a writer's life with a vengeance, becoming vulnerable to struggles with alcohol, financial ruin, and legal feuds. Then, after a betrayal by his soul mate, Martin's sanity was in as much jeopardy as his mother's had ever been — a state of mind that in his case led to gunfire, divorce, and at least one trip to the emergency room.

But Losing Everything is less about getting lost and more about finding your way home again. In his pursuit of stability, Martin uncovered lessons that might help others who have encountered loss: take pleasure in something as small as an ampersand, keep a list of people you know who have died, meet your own death like a warrior, and be glad you don't own a monkey.

Deeply personal yet surprisingly universal, Martin's story is for anyone who has wandered astray. If not a road map, his journey is a guide, providing hard-earned wisdom to illuminate the path home.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Novelist Martin (Our American King, 2007, etc.) charts a hard-bitten existence that spectacularly imploded. If the author can be held accountable in good measure for burning his adult life to the ground, his childhood was a different matter. Martin draws a circumstantially sympathetic portrait of his father, a complex, thwarted man given to horrific rages who visited fists, kickings and verbal hatred upon his son and more of the same to his mentally unstable wife. The author reserves special ire for his mother, whose erratic behavior caused him much shame and humiliation. Martin's prose is smoothly clipped, with a surprising amount of bounce, but readers will be singed by scenes of familial violence rendered cinematically and with awful clarity. Having survived the ordeal of childhood, the author proceeded to shoot himself in the foot. While the competent, conscientious "External Reality Team" in his head sought to maintain reasonable behavior, the "Guys in the Back Row" were speaking up for his darkest memories and deepest impulses. As a writer, Martin felt an artistic responsibility to let the Guys have their say, but ultimately they were not his friends, leading him down one self-destructive path after another. Marriage ruined, finances shattered, prospects nil, his diabetes untreated, he felt inside himself the beast his mother helplessly knew so well: "capable of loping into your life, getting you on the ground, and ravaging you." It has been a long road back, and the voice of the latter pages has a touch of wobble in it. But it's a hopeful wobble, and he offers some pungent words on living in awareness and how to avoid the beast-or at least not lay out the welcome mat for it. Agrim tale full of bite and ache.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743294348
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
11/05/2011
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
1,045,564
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.70(d)

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