The Trip to Echo Spring: Why Writers Drink Hardcover – 1 Aug 2013
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
About the Author
Olivia Laing's first book, To the River, was described as 'sublime' by the Times, 'magical' by the Telegraph and 'deeply intelligent' by the Literary Review. It was a book of the year in the Evening Standard, Independent and Financial Times and was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the Dolman Travel Book of the Year. The Trip to Echo Spring was shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Biography Award, the 2014 Transmission Prize and the Gordon Burn Prize, was widely reviewed and was also a book of the year in The Times, Observer, Metro, Economist and Times Literary Supplement. Olivia is the former Deputy Books Editor of the Observer and writes for a variety of publications, including the Observer, New Statesman, Guardian and Times Literary Supplement. She is a 2011 MacDowell Fellow and has received awards from the Arts Council and the Authors' Foundation. She was also awarded the 2014 Eccles Foundation Writer in Residence at the British Library.
From the acclaimed author of To The River - one of the best reviewed books of 2011 - comes a fascinating and highly original investigation into the myth of the alcoholic writer, now shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Biography Award.See all Product Description
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
It is also an analysis of the physiology of addiction, and an exploration of treatment protocols, particularly those based on the Minnesota Model (AA and 12 Step programmes)
And it gets much more personal than this; the analysing writer inserts her own journey into this critical assessment, in the guise of the story of the road trip Laing took across the States, in the footsteps of the writers she examines. Along the way, Laing, a fine writer about the natural world also inserts herself and her own family history of addiction into the mix, as what is referred to as an `Adult Child of Alcoholic Background' - her mother's partner was, whilst Laing was a child, a suffering alcoholic.
Anyone with any history of alcoholism in their family, anyone who works with alcoholics or their families, knows that alcoholism is a condition which profoundly affects the family and close friends of the alcoholic, perhaps none more profoundly than the children in an alcoholic household.
Laing is an excellent, thoughtful, reflective writer, but whilst I was utterly enamoured by an earlier book of hers, a story of another journey, one taken on foot the length of the River Ouse, with Virginia Woolf as a theme running through it, Echo Spring had me part fascinated, part frustrated, not always sure whether the sum of the disparate parts quite worked or not.Read more ›
I'm expecting a parcel of some of those books [and a few films] any time now.
Written as a journey around the States, Laing is the best travelling companion, observant, clever and cool. We learn just enough about her life to make the observations on alcohol very poignant, and by the end of the book we like and respect her enormously.
An important work of scholarship, which is immensely readable and compassionate.
Laing is a magician...
Those writers are F.Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemmingway, Tennessee Williams, John Cheever, John Berryman and Raymond Carver. Olivia Laing tackles them in that order, although there is a lot of inter-crossing of their narratives around different themes, e.g. the effects of childhood trauma, and the roller-coasters of their work, love, marriage, the euphoric highs and catastrophic lows, and of course, their disastrous relationship with alcohol.
Laing draws no pat conclusions in looking at the above themes. Her central exploration is that of the relationship between alcohol and writing. Common themes include how these alcoholics both scapegoat their writing for their drinking, i.e. it leads them to places where they have to drink to get through, those intense arenas of the imagination. Another thread in all their writing lives is how drinking damages their productivity. More than one of them seems only to be able to write until midday before giving the rest of their waking hours to the bottle.
There a slight digression into the science of alcoholism and this is a fascinating short precis. Its brevity is partly explained on how little science knows on the subject, and partly because this is literary biography not scientific study.
Without a doubt, Laing captures how seductively these writers describe drinking, e.g. Hemmingway’s “lovely gin,” and she also captures it in her own descriptive passages, how John Cheever consoles himself early in the morning with “scoops of gin” from the kitchen fridge.Read more ›
It's well known that many writers and artists in general liked drinking, and that many of them deeply steeped in alcoholism - to answer the question of why is this so is not easy, whether it comes to the release of inspiration that alcohol offers, running away from reality in the form of bottle or just to be an artist is not easy and you need something to help you bear the pain.
In her book "The Trip to Echo Spring", Olivia Laing made extensive research about the work and lives of six extraordinary artists, writers whose lives have been marked by alcohol which due to it or despite it, created many literary masterpieces - John Cheever, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Raymond Carver and John Berryman.
The author, who is from UK, set herself the task to go to places where they lived and worked, she talked to people who knew them, read their personal their personal belongings - journals and letters, unraveling the mystery and connection of their creativity and their weaknesses.
The sad truth is that two of six of them were killed by alcohol, while two of them made a suicide, forever hiding the secret of whether alcohol was a consequence or cause of their misery.
In her book, like in cocktail, she mixed lot of things - except presenting some biographical elements about the authors that are unknown to the wider public, she critically talks about the psychology of alcoholics and how alcohol affects the man and his abilities.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm still reading it but really enjoying it, it gives you an insight into the lives of the different writers .Would definitely recommend it .Published 4 months ago by maro
A pointless book all dressed up and supported by the Lottery, which makes me wonder whether it was a free trip round the USA. Read morePublished 4 months ago by P. M. Williams
Well written with plenty of anecdotes... Booze and writers and why some of our best took to the bottle... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Mark C. Hall
Alcohol both fueled the writing and ultimately destroyed the writers --- Tennessee Williams, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Berryman, Raymond Carver and John Cheever. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Labecque
Brilliant book, that remains in your mind long after you have read it.Published 18 months ago by Julian Bailey
This book will captivate everyone trying to understand why people drink. You don't need to be an avid fan of the six authors Laing examines: I know the works of only one of them... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Anatoly Kurmanaev
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Biography > Historical > 1901 Onwards
- Books > Biography > Historical > Social & Urban History
- Books > Biography > Historical > United States
- Books > Biography > Medical, Legal & Social Sciences > Psychology
- Books > Biography > Novelists, Poets & Playwrights
- Books > Biography > Social & Health Issues
- Books > Health, Family & Lifestyle > Psychology & Psychiatry > Cognition & Cognitive Psychology
- Books > History
- Books > Poetry, Drama & Criticism > History & Criticism