The Recovering: Intoxication and its Aftermath (Little Brown & Company)

By the New York Times bestselling author of THE EMPATHY EXAMS, an exploration of addiction, and the stories we tell about it, that reinvents the traditional recovery memoir. 

With its deeply personal and seamless blend of memoir, cultural history, literary criticism, and journalistic reportage, The Recovering turns our understanding of the traditional addiction narrative on its head, demonstrating that the story of recovery can be every bit as electrifying as the train wreck itself. Leslie Jamison deftly excavates the stories we tell about addiction--both her own and others'--and examines what we want these stories to do, and what happens when they fail us. 
All the while, she offers a fascinating look at the larger history of the recovery movement, and at the literary and artistic geniuses whose lives and works were shaped by alcoholism and substance dependence, including John Berryman, Jean Rhys, Raymond Carver, Billie Holiday, David Foster Wallace, and Denis Johnson, as well as brilliant figures lost to obscurity but newly illuminated here.

For the power of her striking language and the sharpness of her piercing observations, Jamison has been compared to such iconic writers as Joan Didion and Susan Sontag. Yet her utterly singular voice also offers something new. With enormous empathy and wisdom, Jamison has given us nothing less than the story of addiction and recovery in America writ large, a definitive and revelatory account that will resonate for years to come.

Praise for The Recovering

“In gorgeous, incisive prose, Leslie Jamison details her personal battle with alcoholism and recovery, blending memoir with a searing examination of the gender, racial and socio-economic stereo-types surrounding addiction. Eloquently drawing on the stories of artists and writers like David Foster Wallace, William S. Burroughs and Billie Holiday, Jamison explores the push/pull relationship between creativity and drugs, sobriety, relapse and recovery.”- Wellesley Books (Wellesley, MA)

“I finished The Recovering and like it very much.  It is unlike any other addiction book I’ve ever read.  The social history—for lack of a better term—of addiction, the myths and realities, the fetishism and prejudice is so interesting.  She effectively infuses the research and history with her own experience while she explores the nature of addiction vs. vice and how class and race creates a system that is damaging. I’ve already sold a copy! And think I know many more people who will be responsive to this approach to the overpopulated genre of the addiction memoir.” - Watermark Books (Wichita, KS)

“What a relief to be in Leslie Jamison's capable hands again - I have missed her intelligent, thoughtful voice since I finished The Empathy Exams. An examination of the mythos and romanticism around artists and addiction, The Recovering is intellectual without being inaccessible, and challenging in a way that expects and deserves the reader's attention. Readers who love to spend their time with Maggie Nelson's and Susan Sontag's works will find much to love here.”-East City Bookshop (Washington, DC)

“A new benchmark has been set for literary memoirs.  The Recovering by Leslie Jamison is a more than a is a social history, a fascinating study into alcoholism in our society, a well-researched history of Alcoholics Anonymous, and a study of the impacts of alcoholism on great authors like Ray Carver and Denis Johnson.  With complete candor, Jamison leads the reader on the downward spiral of an alcoholic…no sugar coating here!  She shares her repeated attempts at sobriety, noting how difficult it is to give up the exciting life of an alcoholic for the mundane, often boring life of a sober person.  This outstanding work will open our eyes, and hopefully our minds, to seek higher awareness of society’s most hidden addiction. The Recovering is highly recommended!”-Book Vault (Oskaloosa, IA)

“What an exceptional exploration into self and intoxication in general. We slip into her life and ping-pong experience with drinking, and then the spirals down and lurches forward-- all the while reading a rich, history of writers and their experiences, both demons and angels. The mountain climb hike to recovery leaves us on edge, even when the sheer fact that the book is being published is enough of a hint that for her, there is success. No matter your personal experience with alcohol or substance use, this book gives us all much to think about, be thankful for, and deepens understanding.”-Merritt Bookstore (Millbrook, NY)

Leslie Jamison is the author of the essay collection The Empathy Exams, a New York Times bestseller, and the novel The Gin Closet, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, and the Oxford American, among others, and she is a columnist for the New York Times Book Review. She teaches at Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Maggie Nelson is the author of The Argonauts, as well as an American poet, art critic, lyric essayist and nonfiction author of books such as The Red Parts: A Memoir, The Art of Cruelty, Bluets, and Jane: A Murder. The Art of Cruelty was a 2011 Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times and recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Nonfiction. Jane: A Murder was a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir.

Nelson has taught at the Graduate Writing Program of the New School, Wesleyan University, and the School of Art and Design at Pratt Institute; she currently teaches in the CalArts MFA writing program. She was awarded an Arts Writers grant in 2007 from the Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation. In 2011, she was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Poetry.

Event date: 
Sunday, April 15, 2018 - 5:00pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316259613
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Little, Brown and Company - April 3rd, 2018

The Empathy Exams: Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555976712
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - April 2014

The Gin Closet Cover Image
ISBN: 9781439153239
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Free Press - May 3rd, 2011

The Argonauts Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977351
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - January 26th, 2016

Bluets Cover Image
ISBN: 9781933517407
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wave Books - October 2009

The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977368
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Published: Graywolf Press - April 5th, 2016

Jane: A Murder Cover Image
ISBN: 9781593766580
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soft Skull Press - September 13th, 2016

The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393343144
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - August 13th, 2012