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Description de l’éditeur
Alan Kaufman has been compared to Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller, Hubert Selby Jr., even Ernest Hemmingway—his life reads so much like a great movie that the world of cinema has just optioned his first memoir, Jew Boy, for a feature film. Drunken Angel, his new autobiographical work, drops like a sledgehammer. It is the most gripping, chilling and inspiring account ever written of a life-long battle with alcoholism and the struggle to write. Graphic in its grit, an education in pain, Drunken Angel is being hailed as "the Naked Lunch of memoirs." The book chronicles Kaufman’s headlong plunge into the piratical life of a literary drunk, and takes us shamelessly through noirish alleyways of S&M sensuality, forbidden pleasures and pitfalls of adultery, the thrilling horrors of war, plus raging poetry nights, mental illness, homelessness, literary struggle and his strange, magnificent rise into a sobriety of personal triumph as crazily improbable as the famous and notorious figures he meets along the way. Drunken Angel contains revealing portraits of such literary figures as Allen Ginsberg, Kathy Acker, Barney Rosset, Anthony Burgess, Elie Wiesel, Ron Kolm, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Jim Feast, Bernard Malamud, Hubert Selby Jr., Bob Holman, Sapphire, not to speak of the gutter dreamers, Nuyorican Poets, Unbearables, Babarians, Slammers, Black foot Indians, commandos, criminals, junkies, renegade cocktail waitresses, hoboes, painters, and a host of others who each in some way, big or small, play their part in peopling the wildly exilerating drama of Kaufman’s passionate and exotic life. Whether the addiction be booze, women, violence, writing or fame, Kaufman honors us with an explicit honesty that only a writer of enormous power and artistic greatness can attain, and his life, as Drunken Angel poignantly shows, is a profoundly meaningful quest for truth and spiritual values.
Whether the subject is parental abuse, alcoholism, or the travails of the writing life, Kaufman's (Jew Boy; Matches) memoir violently grabs your attention, refusing to let up until he's had his say. This is a brutish and riveting trek through a talented and severely alcoholic psyche. Those who persist are rewarded with stylish, intense writing and the intimate details of the author's metamorphosis. Kaufman grew up in the Bronx with an abusive mother who was a Holocaust survivor. Obese as a child, he was attacked and humiliated by neighborhood bullies, and began drinking in high school. After throwing away an opportunity for a football scholarship, Kaufman studied American literature and Jewish studies at the City College of New York, but his drinking hinders any attempt at serious writing or forming stable, healthy relationships. He becomes a minor star in the emerging spoken word scene in New York, but was soon stumbling around onstage, "incoherent, a drunken nightmare figure." The second half of Kaufman's memoir details his recovery; his move to San Francisco; his burgeoning literary career; and his acknowledgment of the daughter he abandoned: "And so I look back on my life and it is divided in parts: my drunk years and my sober ones, and I can hardly believe the beauty, meaning and victory that have attended my sober years."