A Heartbreakingly Honest Story of Triumph Over Addiction
Son of a French Holocaust survivor, Alan Kaufman drank to fill the huge hole in his heart, wrecking himself and everyone in his path. In Drunken Angel, the poet and critically acclaimed writer recounts with unvarnished honesty the story of the alcoholism that took him to the brink of death, the PTSD that drove him to the edge of madness, and the love that brought him back. With his estranged daughter as inspiration and two unforgettable mentors for support, Kaufman got into recovery at age 37, taking full responsibility for nearly destroying himself, his work and so many loved ones along the way. Kaufman minces no words as he looks back on a life pickled in self-pity, self-loathing and guilt, delivering a lacerating, cautionary tale of a life wasted and reclaimed.
In league with the handful of gut-wrenching, life-changing, and enduring books about the tortures of addiction, Drunken Angel probes the consciousness of an addict to expose the true horror of alcoholism. Alan Kaufman’s searing memoir is a surreal reading experience full of stylistic acrobatics that speak to the genius of a writer nearly lost.
“With an outsized heart to go with its outsized thirst, Drunken Angel tells the sort of truths that feel like myths and the sort of myths that feel like truth.” —Daniel Handler, author of Adverbs
“A great, amazing and honest book. An interesting life, a shameless sincerity, and the talent to tell a story are the essential ingredients needed to create a captivating memoir and Alan Kaufman’s Drunken Angel has tons of all three.” —Etgar Keret, author of The Girl on the Fridge
“As engrossing, moving and honest a literary memoir as one will ever read, Drunken Angel is that rare combination of aching beauty and haunting truth, all made vivid and alive with a poetry that is both turbulent and profoundly wise. Alan Kaufman takes his readers on a Jewish Huck Finn journey of addiction, regret and rage. With his immense literary gifts as a storyteller, he turns the jagged, jaded tale of his life into a true work of art, and along way finds the reconciliation and peace that made this memoir possible, and for that, we should all be grateful.” —Thane Rosenbaum, author of The Golems of Gotham, Second Hand Smoke and Elijah Visible
“Alan Kaufman’s story is riveting: raw in its passion and lacerating in its testimony.” —Oscar Villalon, former book editor at the San Francisco Chronicle and board member of the National Book Critics Circle
ALAN KAUFMAN's novel Matches was published by Little, Brown and Company in the Fall of 2005. David Mamet has called Matches "an extraordinary war novel," and Dave Eggers has written that "there is more passion here then you see in twenty other books combined." Kaufman's critically-acclaimed memoir, Jew Boy (Fromm/Farrar, Straus and Giroux), has appeared in three editions, hardcover and paperback, in the United States and Great Britain. He is the award-winning editor of several anthologies, the most recent of which, The Outlaw Bible of American Literature, was recently reviewed on the cover of the New York Times Book Review. There are two more volumes in Kaufman's Outlaw anthology series: The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry and The Outlaw Bible of American Essays. He has taught in the graduate and undergraduate schools of the Academy of Art University and in writing workshops in San Francisco. His work has appeared in Salon, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Partisan Review and The San Francisco Examiner. Kaufman has been widely anthologized, most recently in Nothing Makes You Free: Writings From Descendents of Holocaust Survivors (WW Norton). Kaufman is a member of PEN American Center. Kaufman's papers and manuscripts are on deposit in the Special Collections Library of the University of Delaware and he is profiled in the Europa Biographical Reference Series.