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White Out: The Secret Life of Heroin Paperback – March 19, 2013
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"The unusual risk taken by Clune's unusually good addiction memoir is its enduring lyrical reverence for heroin. The heroin is so close you can see the white. It hasn't been relegated to the past. It has an honest and dangerous smile. It's right here, whitely licking its chops."
--Gideon Lewis-Kraus, The New Yorker
"His style is direct and confessional, and draws attention to the humour in addiction. He also writes about his theory of addiction... The novelty doesn’t come from the feeling of doing the drug, which Clune says starts to suck pretty quickly’. Instead it’s the image, and the persistent newness of the image, that keeps him coming back."
--Miranda Critchley, London Review of Books.
"An astonishing new book! White Out is more than a recovery memoir. It is a phenomenology of heroin addiction--the single best thing I have read about the drug--and a deep, often beautiful meditation on the nature of memory, pleasure, and time."
--Lorin Stein, The Paris Review Daily
"A terrific memoir."
--Clancy Marin, The Chronicle of Higher Education
"A deeply thought-through, reasonable, unified, maybe teachable understanding of memory and self and habit."
--Tao Lin, The Believer
"Clune's razor-sharp description of the magical first time he got high exemplifies why this stands out among dime-a-dozen addiction memoirs. At its best, this chronicle keenly touches on the devastations of heroin with disciplined literary flair."
--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Disturbing, brilliant, hilarious--it's as if Proust had written Jesus' Son."
--Ben Lerner, author of Leaving the Atocha Station
"Raw, fresh, and relevant, White Out transcends the recent rash of addiction memoirs to meditate upon addiction as a disease of memory. Like an avalanche in a haunted Candy Land, this book is an onslaught of connections between past and present, between a blizzard of writing and the blank world of terminal addiction."
--Nancy D. Campbell, PhD, author of Discovering Addiction: The Science and Politics of Substance Abuse Research and co-author of The Narcotic Farm: The Rise and Fall of America's First Prison for Drug Addicts
"The book works on many levels. It's a cautionary tale full of black, self-deprecating humor. The writing is hip, bleak and funny."
--Michael Heaton, The Plain Dealer
"Clune analyzes the power of addiction, calling it a 'deep memory disease,' the 'white out' of his future when he was using and of his past."
--Barbara McIntyre, Akron Beacon Journal
"A memoir that reads like a lost modernist novel--James Joyce as a junkie in modern day Baltimore. James Frey eat your heart out."
--Adam Wilson, The Millions
About the Author
Michael W. Clune is an assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University and is the author of a scholarly book on American literature published by Cambridge University Press.
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Clune's language is beautiful and visual, and when he writes about 'the bare cliffs of our natural brain chemistry' it hits home, for how many of us have not tried to self-medicate against boredom, depression, loneliness, mindlessness? Alcohol, narcotics or caffeine may have less dramatic/sustained effects, but it makes the language of addiction familiar to many. But not everyone can wring such poetry out of a deeply destructive habit. A wonderful book.