The Lost Weekend

The Lost Weekend

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by Charles Jackson
     
 

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The classic tale of one man’s struggle with alcoholism, this revolutionary novel remains Charles Jackson’s best-known book—a daring autobiographical work that paved the way for contemporary addiction literature.

It is 1936, and on the East Side of Manhattan, a would-be writer named Don Birnam decides to have a drink. And then another, and… See more details below

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Overview

The classic tale of one man’s struggle with alcoholism, this revolutionary novel remains Charles Jackson’s best-known book—a daring autobiographical work that paved the way for contemporary addiction literature.

It is 1936, and on the East Side of Manhattan, a would-be writer named Don Birnam decides to have a drink. And then another, and then another, until he’s in the midst of what becomes a five-day binge. The Lost Weekend moves with unstoppable speed, propelled by a heartbreaking but unflinching truth. It catapulted Charles Jackson to fame, and endures as an acute study of the ravages of alcoholism, as well as an unforgettable parable of the condition of the modern man.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this new edition of Jackson’s groundbreaking, autobiographical 1944 novel, we meet Don Birnam, a charming, handsome, 33-year-old alcoholic who has just abandoned a fragile three-day sobriety. Don’s writing career has been thwarted by his out-of-control binge drinking, and he has alienated everyone in his life save for his long-suffering brother Wick, who lives with him and pays all his bills, and his eternally patient, sometime girlfriend, Helen. During the eponymous five-day bender, Don careens violently around New York City, borrowing and losing money, getting kicked out of bars, and waking with no recollection of the previous day’s events. With direct prose and a refreshing lack of pathos, Jackson lays bare the inner torment and outward chaos of Don’s downward spiral. He vividly details Don’s euphoric tunnel vision and delusions of grandeur that occur when Don is drunk, and the crippling pain of withdrawal and terror of delirium when he is not. Just like his loved ones and the strangers he encounters, the reader is repeatedly duped by Don’s lies; we believe him every time because of Jackson’s masterful storytelling. This frank examination, written before the disease of alcoholism was understood, offers no solution, no moral, just an unblinking look into the life and mind of an addict. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
“A masterpiece of psychological precision.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Marvelous and horrifying. . . .  The best fictional account of alcoholism I have read.”
—Kingsley Amis

“A masterpiece . . . a book so powerful and understanding that many readers will find themselves riveted to their chairs until the end.”
The Saturday Review of Literature

“The novel is a miracle, handed down to Mr. Jackson by a higher power. Every sentence is right. . . . Let's put it on the top shelf again, for all us lucky ex-drunks.”
—Barry Hannah

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307948731
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/12/2013
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
318,582
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Charles Jackson was born in 1903 and raised in the township of Arcadia, New York, in the Finger Lakes region, where much of his fiction is set. After a youth marred by tuberculosis and alcoholism, Jackson achieved international fame with his first novel, The Lost Weekend (1944), which was adapted into a classic movie by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett. Over the next nine years, Jackson published two more novels and two story collections, while continuing to struggle with alcohol and drug addiction. In 1967, after a fourteen-year silence, he returned to the best-seller lists with a novel about a nymphomaniac, A Second-Hand Life, but the following year he died of an overdose at the Hotel Chelsea in Manhattan.

Blake Bailey is the author of Farther & Wilder: The Lost Weekends and Literary Dreams of Charles Jackson. His other books include A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Cheever: A Life, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Francis Parkman Prize, and finalist for the Pulitzer and James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He edited a two-volume edition of Cheever’s work for The Library of America, and in 2010 received an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Virginia with his wife and daughter.

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