其实看到一半觉得有点无聊，没有the lonely city的那种absorbing的力量，去网上找评论，看到的基本上都是一大篇先写写这本书里的那六个作者，总结作者的theme是要探讨写作与酗酒的关系。并没有找到自己想找到的评论。所以这里就自己bullet point似的写写自己的直观感受吧。
- Like <the lonely city>, Laing weaves her autobiographies into the stories of the six writers. However in here it’s not very coherent and sometimes clueless. She did a better job in transitioning between lapses in the other book.
- I don’t have much background knowledge of these writers except the famous Fitzgerald and Hemingway, which makes it difficult for me to keep track of their distinct while similar lives. They do have many things in common, their disturbed childhoods, irresponsible parents, troubled relationship in adulthood, and their suicidal tendencies. All of these form the themes of Laing’s discussions: the causes of alcoholism, its behaviors, and how that affects writing. One thing that struck me was the compulsiveness to drink as well as to write. When storytelling becomes a panacea to virtually bring pieces back to one, it rhymes with the compulsive desire to keep drinking and getting drunk. It is so beautiful that, and such a consolation to think that, these writers seek salvation through writing and drinking, as a way of numbing one’s sensors of pains and injuries, forgetting the past, and outpouring purgatories into stories and poems that later soothes countless readers. Of course this is not to say that good writing requires excessive drinking, but can one really deny that drinking in some sense helps?
- Water is another theme, as most of these writers love swimming. Interestingly I just finished <a little life> where the main character Jude also does this meditative swimming every morning to cleanse his mind. Just a curious link.
- One thing that I was seeking for in this book (coming from a huge fan of her <the lonely city>) is probably the projection of her analysis to society. How do these people stand in a society in their specific times? How do their stories and poems stand in public reception? I’m looking for this social empathy throughout the book but didn’t find much except from her personal point of view. Not to say that this makes it a meaningless book, but just something that disappoints me a little.