British artist Horsley's biggest claim to fame is the crucifixion ceremony he underwent in the Philippines in 2000, an attempt to break the limits of life and make an artistic statement. The feat is the apex of Horsley's unauthorized autobiography, which chronicles his life as an artist, a junkie and a self-professed dandy. Pithy and engaging, Horsley bares all, painting himself as a misogynist, a sexual deviant and a narcissist. While the memoir starts slow—drawn out accounts of childhood travails, tawdry family history and boarding-school miseries—Horsley's writing picks up when he's describing his cyclical addiction to and withdrawal from drugs. A crack high is a whole-body orgasm and heartbreaking ecstasy; heroin is molten sunshine. By the time he is on a raft in the Philippines, paddling to the site of his crucifixion, he's been in and out of exclusive rehab clinics and self-imposed bouts of cold turkey time, not to mention a stint as a prostitute. By the time a 50-something Horsley winds down his life history—wealthy and privileged from birth (his family owned a food empire), he was also uncannily successful in the stock market—he is nearly bankrupt. He ran through, by his own estimation, £100,000 on his drug addictions and the same amount of money each on his other addiction, prostitutes, and tailored clothing befitting his stature as a dandy. (Mar. 11)Correction: The title of Lea Jacobson's book was left out in the December 10 issue. The title is Bar Flower: My Decadently Destructive Days and Nights as a Tokyo Nightclub Hostess.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
See all Editorial Reviews
Copyright © 2008 Click here to subscribe to The New Yorker
Nothing really outrageous or shocking. I wonder if most of this comes from the authors imagination, rather than an actual account of his life, to date. Read morePublished on October 13, 2008 by Mark A. Gray
Actually, he is a very good writer and I was quite taken by the book....however, that he goes on and on about how important Baudelaire, Byron, Bacon, Burroughs are in his... Read morePublished on August 12, 2008 by Kenneth Mcgough
Seeing mention of Horsley's being denied entry to the US by our insane regime led me to recall some amusing piece of his in the British press and I picked up this book on a whim. Read morePublished on April 18, 2008 by A