This Canadian memoir is subtitled "Myself and Other Writers." Though quite a few books have been written about talented writers and drink, this is the most personal. In the first half, Newlove turns a pitiless eye on himself, his alcoholic adventures, and the pain he caused and experienced. The stories are hair-raising as well as chillingly funny at times. The second half is devoted to alcoholic portraits of fellow authors: Lowry, Hemingway, Kerouac, Lardner, Marquand, Faulkner, Beckett. The information is available elsewhere, of course, but not in this (if you'll pardon the expression) distilled form, and not with Newlove's harsh, cool, but knowing judgments of these great men's failings. An odd but memorable piece of work.
This report prepared by David Loftus