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Digging the Vein by [O'Neill, Tony]
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Digging the Vein Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Description


Reading it I could taste the LA smog. Here pain comes at you like a Mack truck relentless and unavoidable. Don t blink. Keep reading.
Dan Fante, author of Corksucker, Chump Change, Mooch and Spitting Off Tall Buildings.

A blistering account of addiction, love, hope and the downside of the American Dream...
Dazed and Confused.

Digging the Vein is mining diamonds for the crown of the King of Hell
--John Giorno, Giorno Poetry Systems, author of You Got To Burn To Shine.

About the Author

In a previous life (born 1978 in Blackburn) Tony O'Neill played keyboards for bands and artists as diverse as Kenickie, Marc Almond and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. After moving to Los Angeles his promising career was derailed by heroin addiction, quickie marriages and crack abuse. While kicking methadone he started writing about his experiences on the periphery of the Hollywood Dream and he has been writing ever since. He lives in New York where he works a variety of odd jobs and writes.

Tony O'Neill is a founding member of the Brutalists, a literary collective including authors Adelle Stripe and Ben Myers

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1140 KB
  • Print Length: 219 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Vicon Editions; 2 edition (2 Jun. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #236,639 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I cannot explain how much I loved reading this book. You get so deep into the mind and the vein. Slip into the eye of his mind : his writing lets you . I have had similar issues myself . Perhaps for someone who doesn't know that world at all it may be just a little *too* dirty and horrific in places. So if that's the case brace yourselves, because this is quite a tale. but read it anyway, because you will come out richer in experience. And we know from the beginning that he lived to tell the tale (thank g#d), so...
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By A Customer on 8 Mar. 2006
Format: Paperback
if you have any interest in the beautiful darkness of the human spirit this is a book for you. Transcendent and illuminating, O'Neil leads you through the twisted world of the career junkie.
A scuzzy work of extraordinary art. An autofiction, par excellence.
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Format: Paperback
This is a must for any fans of novels like The Basketball Diaries, Trainspotting or Junkie. The author details his years as a musician in various mid 90's bands like Kenickie, before the real meat of the book - a relentless nosedive into heroin addiction and crack use in some incredibly scuzzy sounding LA neighborhoods. The writing is simple, very brutal but poetic: the book reminded me more of the classic stuff like Burroughs or Bukowski than more recent memoirs like Jerry Stahl or James Frey. And a barely disguised account of his stint as a member of The Brian Jonestown Massacre is worth the price of admission by itself.

Be warned though - if a blow by blow account of someone injecting crack cooked up in lemon juice, with a used needle sounds too much for you - then avoid Digging the Vein. Otherwise, pick up a copy and change yer life.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
trainspotting is for the school, this is so real!!!! great
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 24 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic! 28 Feb. 2006
By William Leigh - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I heard about this book from the numerous reviews floating around on the net and the number of short stories and poems Mr O'Neill has published online, so i was tremendously excited to get my hands on a copy of it. It arrived 2 days ago and I read it non stop as soon as it showed up. It was even better than I expected. If drug influenced literature is your thing, then you will get a lot from this book which is certainly a classic of its genre. It is at turns repulsive, beautiful, funny and dark. And most of all it's heartfelt. It's a different kind of book from say "A Million Little Pieces" - it deals with a much harsher story of addiction than that book did for one, but it also is more of a work of literature... definately to be filed alongside Burroughs, Jim Carroll, even Bukowski, rather than James Frey or Jerry Stahl. It's really impressive stuff. Impressive enough that I've sat down and written my first review on Amazon, something I've never felt the urge to do before.

Oh and as an LA resident I liked the fact that it was a step by step guide to the city's drug subculture, and only a handful of locales have been disguised! And as a fan of the Brian Jonestown Massacre it was interesing to get an insiders account of a stint in that particular group.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Youth, Blood and Heaven 11 April 2006
By sicksixseven - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Yeah, Jesus came back from the dead, but then what did he do? Always easy to talk about hell, but not so with heaven. Digging The Vein sticks out as a tale of addiction that explains why the highs are so worth it. Easy for recovery manuals to talk about why people "fill a void inside them with alcohol or heroin or sex or TV." But why are hard drugs so worth the agony? O'Neill spends a little more time on the highs-you have a youth in LA in a band that is close to making it big. That in itself is a high. When he begins using heroin, one high transforms into another. The descriptions, though quick and witty, are still more concrete than you usually get. The way he describes the highs of various drugs, you finally see why someone would want to go through all the pain in order to have them.

It seems reviewers these days often have to talk about what separates a certain piece from its predecessors-a different kind of serial killer; good girl scholar's double life; and my favorite, werewolf/ vampire/ wizard/ demon meets gumshoe detective. Hey man, whatever pays the bills. So I suppose with Trainspotting and Naked Lunch out there, one does feel like one should say why Digging The Vein expands rather than repeats the genre. I think the difference lies in the character-rather young, 22, and playing in a somewhat successful band. This author has seen scenes that most people have not, and has gone further at 22 with music than many struggle to for decades. I enjoyed this portion of the book for these experiences alone. Not only that, but the events that followed were written relatively close to the time they occurred, and in a bullet-ricochet style that keeps the pages turning. Few artists can merge all the above factors into prose that exudes youth like a warm summer evening, strains said youth into liquid drugs that can reproduce the feeling again, even if you're really surrounded by trash, urinals and other junkies.

And yet O'Neill maintains the shadowplay wist of a Jane's Addiction melody without the immediate "Hi, I'm a commodity" feel that so much dark culture has made of itself. The narrator comes off as truly interested in the late nineties alt-pop scene he describes without sounding snobby or too cool. This nurtures the reader's curiosity, makes you wonder why this one, and not the others who seem so phony, succumbs to the slavery of the needle...

...and that's the question that makes you read to the final scenes, makes you wonder what kind of heaven has the final say over this young man's life.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the real thing 30 Mar. 2006
By Mike Segretto - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
While drug memoirs are a dime a dozen, they all seem to follow the same, exact structure: the joy of experimentation leads to addiction, which leads to disintegration. Then there's usually a "moment of clarity," as Jules said in "Pulp Fiction," and then a grueling recovery resolves in some sort of "clean and sober and loving it" rap just in time for the final act. Well, forget all that spoon-fed, 12-step bullsh*t and read "Digging the Vein" to find out that it ain't always that easy.

With equal amounts of humor, humility, honesty, and exhilaration, O'Neill describes his own bout with addiction, while never resorting to the kinds of simple answers or pat resolutions that are so plentiful in other drug books but so rare in the real world.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A smooth ride 16 Oct. 2006
By calmly - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tony achieves the impossible: he writes smoothly about the most harrowing amounts of drug ingestion I've ever encountered. It's like watching "Leave it to Beaver" except the family is all shooting themselves up and each other up and yet it has all that tidiness of a 50's American television show. It is just because Tony has such a good command of the language. He obviously had a lot of trouble controlling his drug usage, it almost killed him.

So what does a fine writer like Tony do after writing this book? I mean, is there a market for a book that isn't about ingesting lots of drugs?

I want Tony to do well because his writing is just, well so pleasant. And that is despite the first chapter of this book having more drugs ingested than I've known of being ingested anywhere else in my entire life. Fortunately for me the pace of drug usage slowed down in subsequent chapters or I would have overdosed from the reading.

Tony is a founding member of the Riot Lit Collective, a small group of writers who have banded together on the Internet. Keep an eye on them.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First novel success 19 Jan. 2007
By B. McGettrick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
One man's account of addiction and his encounters with dealers, pimps, prostitutes and musicians - told with dark humour, style and, above all, honesty.
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