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Wasting Talent Paperback – April 15, 2014
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From the Back Cover
"Ryan Leone's Wasting Talent stands out as a shining example of survivor literature. Ryan's prose evokes lost giants like Hubert Selby Jr and Eddie Little. As art, and as inspiration,Wasting Talent delivers. Ryan Leone is the real deal!"
- Jerry Stahl, bestselling author of Permanent Midnight
"I feel I should write a disclaimer about Ryan Leone's Wasting Talent, like 'Don't try this at home.' So, I will: Don't read this at home. Go to a dark place where nobody knows you and read it by candlelight or by the flashing red lights of a police car. You'll find yourself falling off a cliff, right behind the author of this savagely honest journal that's both nihilistic and frighteningly, beautifully human. It's a seamless, masterful blend of substance and style that will scar you -- like the best writing does."
- Jim Uhls, screenwriter of Fight Club
"Wasting Talent is a book that grabs you by the neck and squeezes, written by a man who is that rarest of things: a capital-W-writer. Now, there's a lot of people out there with books, but let's face it: few of them can write. Ryan Leone, I'm pleased to say, can Write. His sentences come at you like bullets, blasts of hard-bitten, hard-won poetry - the kind of poetry that can only be written after risking a few rounds with the devil himself.Wasting Talent isn't a drug memoir, it's way more than that - its a man bearing his soul... and very few writers are brave enough to ever attempt that."
-Tony O'Neill, author of Sick City
"In the opening pages of his compelling and addictive new novel, Wasting Talent, Ryan Leone writes: "I didn't even have to say anything--true junkies have that sense." His needle-sharp prose is a relentless testament to the fact that Leone indeed "has that sense." Written from the dark underbelly of a society in desperate need of repair, Leone offers readers an authentic, rat's-eye view of the human condition. Told with a voice that refuses to be ignored, Wasting Talent is a courageous demonstration of a survivor's crucial talent never going to waste - even in the bottomless human wasteland it so brilliantly depicts."
- Jonathan Shaw, author of Narcisa
"Like describing your band as "funk with an edge," there are generally few labels worse than "defies definition." In the world of writing, it is only the rarest, most special of books that can pull this off. Wasting Talent by Ryan Leone is such a book. You can't call it a recovery memoir, and it's not exactly junkie lit. Crime? Thriller? Experimental? The bottom line: the work exudes enthralling, and the mutherfucker can flat-out write. From the opening bell, you know you are in the presence of greatness. Like his protagonist, Damien Cantwell, you can feel the abundance of talent (there's so much here that "wasting" a little becomes almost excusable). Leading a band of drug-addled misfits, Cantwell becomes the stand-in for every dreamer and exceptional screw-up forced to square peg these mundane round holes. Leone captures what addiction is really like--the highs, the lows, the love and perversion and paranoia, and the absurdist, surreal delights (it's not all bad, or there wouldn't be a million addicts). Threading hilarity and high-jinks over roller-coaster rails, Leone's Wasting Talent packs a speedball's rush and when the crashes come, they come spectacular."
- Joe Clifford, author of Junkie Love
"...in this almost Grand Guignol style that invokes such surprisingly respected figures as Dennis Cooper, Hubert Selby, Chuck Palahniuk and early Poppy Z. Brite. (After all, if you're going to write a dark novel about drug addiction, why not make it literally The Darkest Novel Ever Written About Drug Addiction.)"
- Chicago Center for Literature & Photography
About the Author
Ryan Leone lives in Los Angeles with his fiance.
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Your Fear and Loathing this, your Confessions of a that. But none of what you've read compares to Wasting Talent. That's a promise.
It's high octane. A blizzard of drug activity that's on another level from the others. Written in a free format, like a Ferlinghetti poem on speed, the prose is loose, funny, and conversational, as though it was being delivered by a close confidant. The story drives one narcissist through a gauntlet of drug abuse and misadventure that is jaw-dropping. Our hero is a talented musician throwing away his god-given talents for a steady stream of chemical bliss. We find him at the bottom and follow him as he digs himself farther in. As a former drug addict who has some experience as a failed musician, the detail and depiction is spot-on. Some of its accuracy left me with chills. Real chills. For me though, it was the inner dialogue that frightened me most, the absolute truth of those darkest moments when any and all judgment leaves you and you're acting on pure addictive instinct. There were moments in this book that I actually howled. Sometimes with laughter, sometimes with horror, sometimes with both at once. There's a raw honesty in Leone's voice that is quite special. The kind of honesty we don't even allow ourselves. Do yourself a favor and experience this book.
Fans of books like Jesus Son, Permanent Midnight, Junky, Digging the Vein or Young Adam will LOVE Wasting Talent... it's a fresh take on one of one of the edgiest literary subgenres.