What makes one of the most gifted, charismatic and successful literary agents in New York fall into full-blown crack-addiction: a collapse that would cost him his business, his home, many of his friends and - very nearly - his life?
In his utterly compulsive narrative, Bill Clegg leads us through the grimiest back-rooms of Manhattan's underbelly, through scenes of blank-eyed sex and squalor, into the febrile paranoia of a mind gone out of control.
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Beautifully measured and adroitly paced ... mixing a matter-of-fact eye for detail with just enough emotion to unsettle and engross ... Addictive and masterful - The Independent
A gripping, graphic memoir that pounds relentlessly to its climax - The Times
It has the power and precision of the best contemporary fiction. It does what the best writing always does, which is to make Clegg's experience part of your own -
It's a remarkable achievement when a writer can evoke the most desperate episodes of addiction with the unflinching honesty required to make such a memoir worth reading, yet somehow manage to completely transcend sleaze, sordidness and vapid self-justification. Bill Clegg's story of a man - largely locked in hotel rooms, engaged in a desperate, heart-wrenching battle with himself - is destined to become a cult classic of writing on drug addiction -
Beautifully written and elegantly frank... lyrical, funny and shattering -
Bill Clegg's Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man stands up to Frederick Exley's great memoir of alcoholism, A Fan's Notes. It is perhaps even higher praise to think of Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man as Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye on crack. But really, finally, forget the comparisons. Read the book -
Addictive, and strangely beautiful - Intelligent Life
A gripping, graphic memoir that pounds relentlessly to a climax. - The Times
Riveting reading... We salute this book - Dazed & Confused
Dark, engrossing...proves that addiction stories do not have to be gratuitous and unashamedly confessional - Scotsman
A very, very good book...told in perfect, beautifully clear, Bret Easton Ellis-type prose - Literary Review
A beautifully written and elegantly frank memoir... A lyrical, funny and shattering narration of a long, hard path. - AL Kennedy, Guardian Summer Reading
Audacious - Rose Tremain, Guardian Summer Reading
A short book that pulls you in and spits you back out... He can certainly write - Scotland on Sunday
Stylised, artful memoir - Financial Times
Loved A Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man - Spectator, Christmas round up
It's an honest and wonderfully crafted book by a man as intoxicated by language as he was by crack. - Guardian, Christmas round up
Mesmerising: as well as being beautifully written, it illuminated addiction in a frank and useful fashion, and tied childhood experience into adult problems insightfully. - Sunday Herald, Christmas round up