- Paperback: 371 pages
- Publisher: Process; 1st Edition Thus edition (June 1, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0976082209
- ISBN-13: 978-0976082200
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #572,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Permanent Midnight: A Memoir Paperback – June 1, 2005
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Hubert Selby, Jr., author of Last Exit to Brooklyn
[Stahl] is a better-than-Burroughs virtuoso.”
Thomas Mallon, The New Yorker
Original, appalling, indelible picture of a man trying to swim and drown at the same time. Stahl has nerve, heart, a language of his own and a ghastly, riotous humor.”
Tobias Wolff, author of This Boy’s Life
Permanent Midnight is one of the most harrowing and toughest accounts ever written in this century about what it means to be a junkie in America, making Burroughs look dated and Kerouac appear as the nose-thumbing adolescent he was.”
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Top customer reviews
( I was like 11 and raiding my old mans collection of gentleman rags as I prepared for my first career as a stripper) and later latching on to his voice in the LA weekly as I stripped in preparation for my destiny as a writer, I truly responded to his style because I never connected the dots until much later when a student in my HS English class ( he had a heroin jones at 17 and asked me to help him-- he's a nurse who married the girl I chose for him these days) brought me this book and insisted I read it. Next thing I knew I had the Stahl collection circulating in my underground book club as kids latched on to Perv, Fatty and Love Without. Ultimately Paradoxia by Lydia Lunch beat him out. But I dragged kids to Stahl's readings and he ended up shipping us books so I could keep up. I know I was a great teacher because my students were always stealing my books.
So is PM perfect? Not really . It's legendary though as Stahl admits the tome originally started out as a nearly 1000 page embarrassment his mentor Cubby wisely advised him to edit with this advice : Write with love. I try to heed these words myself but it's not as easy as it sounds. However, I suspect it is the guiding spirit in this memoir which opened the door, for better or worse, to many a drug addled memoir. In grad school I wrote a paper on the history of drug memoirs which was just around the time Stahl's was getting a lot of attention for this book. I had DeQuincey, Crowly and Irvine Welsh but something about Hollywood hipster put me off. I clearly recall reading an article about Stahl in the LAT and considering going to his reading that night at Skylihght Books. It was 1998 or 99, I didn't go, but I alluded to Stahl in my conclusion as the beginning of a trend. When it comes to literary matters my insights tend to be uncanny. Sadly my own life tends to be less available for such penetrating scrutiny.
I would like to Say Bukowski is my biggest influence as he's a much better writer than Stahl. But I know that Stahl's manic and cartoonish excess has been the Template for the writer I am today. His been a part of my Writng life since I knew I was a writer and always in an illicit and scary way. As such he's made me a little dishonest, something Hank's influence dissuades. But that's the nature of fiction, and like it or not memoir is fiction because none of us are willing to tell everything . Stahl just makes it look that way.
Note: I just had a chance to meet Jerry at a reading in downtown Los Angeles. He was one of the nicest and most humble men I've ever met.
A gut-wrenching depiction of his life through the very worst scenarios imaginable (seriously, many of these anecdotes will absolutely stop you in your tracks), Permanent Midnight doesn't ask for your sympathy, but the quality of the writing--plus that undercurrent of thought that, deep down, you know he's a good guy--makes you pull for him at all times. Highly recommended.