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Drunken Angel
A Memoir
Alan Kaufman
ISBN: 9781936740321
Book (Paperback)
Viva Editions
$18.95
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
464 pages
April 9, 2013


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"Drunken Angel ... details a sad, painful childhood that erupted into a violent adolescence, followed by an emotionally stunted, drunken adulthood with all its attendant miseries, abuse and bungled opportunities." —J Weekly

"Imagine if your childhood bedtime stories were of the Holocaust. With blunt honesty, Kaufman shares his harrowing life journey from the streets of NY and SF to the battlefields of Israel—through alcoholism and recovery. His narrative of loss, addiction and redemption explores the intersection of alcoholism, his Jewish lineage and the Holocaust—and what it may mean for us today." —Pacific Sun

“In more than two hundred pages of blistering hangovers, park bench nights, and fistfights, Kaufman becomes a celebrated writer and avant garde arts advocate… A clearly articulated roadmap to freedom for the addict, Drunken Angel is an easy and exciting memoir. This outlaw hero is someone to cheer for…” —Foreword Reviews

"[An] addictive memoir of self-destruction, recuperation and a literary coming-of-age." —Kirkus Reviews

"Whether the subject is parental abuse, alcoholism, or the travails of the writing life, Kaufman’s (Jew Boy; Matches) memoir violently grabs your attention, refusing to let up until he’s had his say. This is a brutish and riveting trek through a talented and severely alcoholic psyche. Those who persist are rewarded with stylish, intense writing and the intimate details of the author’s metamorphosis." —Publishers Weekly

Alan Kaufman has been compared to Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller, Hubert Selby Jr., even Ernest Hemmingway—his life reads so much like a great movie that the world of cinema has just optioned his first memoir, Jew Boy, for a feature film. Drunken Angel, his new autobiographical work, drops like a sledgehammer. It is the most gripping, chilling and inspiring account ever written of a life-long battle with alcoholism and the struggle to write. Graphic in its grit, an education in pain, Drunken Angel is being hailed as "the Naked Lunch of memoirs."

The book chronicles Kaufman’s headlong plunge into the piratical life of a literary drunk, and takes us shamelessly through noirish alleyways of S&M sensuality, forbidden pleasures and pitfalls of adultery, the thrilling horrors of war, plus raging poetry nights, mental illness, homelessness, literary struggle and his strange, magnificent rise into a sobriety of personal triumph as crazily improbable as the famous and notorious figures he meets along the way. Drunken Angel contains revealing portraits of such literary figures as Allen Ginsberg, Kathy Acker, Barney Rosset, Anthony Burgess, Elie Wiesel, Ron Kolm, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Jim Feast, Bernard Malamud, Hubert Selby Jr., Bob Holman, Sapphire, not to speak of the gutter dreamers, Nuyorican Poets, Unbearables, Babarians, Slammers, Black foot Indians, commandos, criminals, junkies, renegade cocktail waitresses, hoboes, painters, and a host of others who each in some way, big or small, play their part in peopling the wildly exilerating drama of Kaufman’s passionate and exotic life.

Whether the addiction be booze, women, violence, writing or fame, Kaufman honors us with an explicit honesty that only a writer of enormous power and artistic greatness can attain, and his life, as Drunken Angel poignantly shows, is a profoundly meaningful quest for truth and spiritual values.

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