Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man: A Memoir

Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man: A Memoir

3.3 43
by Bill Clegg
     
 

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Bill Clegg had a thriving business as a literary agent, a supportive partner, trusting colleagues, and loving friends when he walked away from his world and embarked on a two-month crack binge. He had been released from rehab nine months earlier, and his relapse would cost him his home, his money, his career, and very nearly his life.

What is it that leads an… See more details below

Overview

Bill Clegg had a thriving business as a literary agent, a supportive partner, trusting colleagues, and loving friends when he walked away from his world and embarked on a two-month crack binge. He had been released from rehab nine months earlier, and his relapse would cost him his home, his money, his career, and very nearly his life.

What is it that leads an exceptional young mind want to disappear? Clegg makes stunningly clear the attraction of the drug that had him in its thrall, capturing in scene after scene the drama, tension, and paranoiac nightmare of a secret life--and the exhilarating bliss that came again and again until it was eclipsed almost entirely by doom. He also explores the shape of addiction, how its pattern--not its cause--can be traced to the past.

Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man is an utterly compelling narrative--lyrical, irresistible, harsh, honest, and beautifully written--from which you simply cannot look away.

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Editorial Reviews

Jonathan Van Meter
You won't be able to stop reading until it's all gone - and you will crave more...what makes Clegg's book especially riveting is the remarkable speed of his vertiginous fall from grace....Portrait is a spare, elegant book, one that shows admirable restraint in the face of extreme, even pathological behavior (A Million Little Pieces this is not.) Clegg may not have been able to control his demons, but he is utterly in charge of this material, with a voice that is knowing and self-deprecating in exactly the right measure.
Vogue
Details
"Clegg...cuts through the addiction-memoir noise, recounting the glamour and pathos of self-destruction with efficiency and disturbing clarity."
Jay McInerney
Bill Clegg... has written a streamlined, hair-raising, high-torque memoir...Even though we know how the story must end, it's hard to believe Clegg will survive the ordeal he describes in such horrific detail.
Vanity Fair
Christopher Bollen
For all the literary musings on drugs, the business of literature is a rather sober and cerebral place. That fact may explain why the memoir of literary agent Bill Clegg, which recounts a nosedive not so very long ago into crack addiction, seems as shocking as his ability to construct gorgeously poetic scenes seems intuitive.... Clegg barrels full force into a spiraling Manhattan phantasmagoria of hot-boxed hotel bathrooms, more-than-willing drug dealers, boyfriend betrayal, insane paranoia, days gone missing, and the endless hunger of wanting just one more taste of the very thing that's eating you whole.
Interview
Mickey Rapkin
It turns out there is room on the shelf for one more addiction memoir....Clegg spares no one's feelings, least of all his own; it's not the brutality that makes this worthwhile but rather the strange beauty of the stream-of consciousness prose. We're voyeurs, as helpless to stop the carnage as the author himself.
GQ
Dwight Garner
Mesmerizing...reading it is like letting the needle down on a Nick Drake album. [Clegg] tells his story in short, atmospheric paragraphs, each separated by white space, each its own strobe-lighted snapshot of decadent poetic memory....Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man is the lightly narcotized sensorium of Mr. Clegg's prose.
The New York Times
Michael Cunningham

PRAISE FOR PORTRAIT OF AN ADDICT AS A YOUNG MAN:

"Bill Clegg's Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man stands up to Frederick Exley's great memoir of alcoholism, A Fan's Notes . . . . But really, forget comparisons. Read the book."

Andrew O'Hagan
"Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man is an instant classic. Anybody who knows anything about addiction will feel morally altered by this book. To an extraordinary degree, it has both beauty and truth."
Danielle Trussoni
"Bill Clegg's memoir is a startling, hair-raising, and compulsively readable account of one man's descent into the hell of addiction."
Irvine Welsh
"Bill Clegg's story of a man-largely locked in hotel rooms, engaged in a desperate, heart-wrenching battle with himself--is destined to become a cult classic of writing on drug addiction."
Elinor Lipman
"I devoured Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man, couldn't put it down. The writing throughout is beautiful, and all the while it is reportorial and efficient and honest--a rare combination of feats!"
Jay McInerney - Vanity Fair
"Bill Clegg... has written a streamlined, hair-raising, high-torque memoir...Even though we know how the story must end, it's hard to believe Clegg will survive the ordeal he describes in such horrific detail."
Dwight Garner - The New York Times
"One of the reasons to stick with Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man is the lightly narcotized sensorium of Mr. Clegg's prose.... He can write."
Mickey Rapkin - GQ
"It turns out there is room on the shelf for one more addiction memoir....Clegg spares no one's feelings, least of all his own; it's not the brutality that makes this worthwhile but rather the strange beauty of the stream-of consciousness prose. We're voyeurs, as helpless to stop the carnage as the author himself."
Christopher Bollen - Interview
"For all the literary musings on drugs, the business of literature is a rather sober and cerebral place. That fact may explain why the memoir of literary agent Bill Clegg, which recounts a nosedive not so very long ago into crack addiction, seems as shocking as his ability to construct gorgeously poetic scenes seems intuitive.... Clegg barrels full force into a spiraling Manhattan phantasmagoria of hot-boxed hotel bathrooms, more-than-willing drug dealers, boyfriend betrayal, insane paranoia, days gone missing, and the endless hunger of wanting just one more taste of the very thing that's eating you whole."
Jonathan Van Meter - Vogue
"Clegg may not have been able to control his demons, but he is utterly in charge of this material, with a voice that is knowing and self-deprecating in exactly the right measure."
David Carr - The New York Times Book Review
"Rings true in brutal, blunt strokes."
Maggie Fergusson - The Economist
"This narrative of addiction is itself addictive, and strangely beautiful."
Susan Juby - The Globe and Mail
"I raced through the book in an evening.... That Clegg survived and is well enough to write a book this good is incredible."
Kirk Davis Swinehart - Chicago Tribune
"Bill Clegg has written an exceptionally fine addition to a genre largely bereft of style, intelligence, and moral complexity.... It's plain to see that people stuck by him because they enjoy his company, because he inspires fierce loyalty. Now, at last, Bill Clegg seems capable of believing it."
Newsweek
"Many first-time memoirists are motivated by self-serving desires: to make the world notice them or to make the world like them. Neither can be said of Bill Clegg."
From the Publisher
"Clegg may not have been able to control his demons, but he is utterly in charge of this material, with a voice that is knowing and self-deprecating in exactly the right measure."—Jonathan Van Meter, Vogue"

It turns out there is room on the shelf for one more addiction memoir....Clegg spares no one's feelings, least of all his own; it's not the brutality that makes this worthwhile but rather the strange beauty of the stream-of consciousness prose. We're voyeurs, as helpless to stop the carnage as the author himself."—Mickey Rapkin, GQ"

Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man is an instant classic. Anybody who knows anything about addiction will feel morally altered by this book. To an extraordinary degree, it has both beauty and truth."—Andrew O'Hagan"

Bill Clegg's memoir is a startling, hair-raising, and compulsively readable account of one man's descent into the hell of addiction."—Danielle Trussoni"

Bill Clegg's story of a man-largely locked in hotel rooms, engaged in a desperate, heart-wrenching battle with himself—is destined to become a cult classic of writing on drug addiction."—Irvine Welsh"

I devoured Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man, couldn't put it down. The writing throughout is beautiful, and all the while it is reportorial and efficient and honest—a rare combination of feats!"—Elinor Lipman"

Rings true in brutal, blunt strokes."—David Carr, The New York Times Book Review"

This narrative of addiction is itself addictive, and strangely beautiful."—Maggie Fergusson, The Economist"

I raced through the book in an evening.... That Clegg survived and is well enough to write a book this good is incredible."—Susan Juby, The Globe and Mail"

Bill Clegg has written an exceptionally fine addition to a genre largely bereft of style, intelligence, and moral complexity.... It's plain to see that people stuck by him because they enjoy his company, because he inspires fierce loyalty. Now, at last, Bill Clegg seems capable of believing it."—Kirk Davis Swinehart, Chicago Tribune"

One of the reasons to stick with Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man is the lightly narcotized sensorium of Mr. Clegg's prose.... He can write."—Dwight Garner, The New York Times"

Many first-time memoirists are motivated by self-serving desires: to make the world notice them or to make the world like them. Neither can be said of Bill Clegg."—Newsweek

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316084505
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
06/07/2010
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
148,326
File size:
1 MB

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