Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man
A masterful account of a crack-addict's freefall.
What makes one of the most gifted, charismatic and successful literary agents in New York fall into full-blown crack-addiction: a collapse that would cost him his business, his home, many of his friends and - very nearly - his life?
In his utterly compulsive narrative, Bill Clegg leads us through the grimiest back-rooms of Manhattan's underbelly, through scenes of blank-eyed sex and squalor, into the febrile paranoia of a mind gone out of control.
Praise for Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man
It's a remarkable achievement when a writer can evoke the most desperate episodes of addiction with the unflinching honesty required to make such a memoir worth reading, yet somehow manage to completely transcend sleaze, sordidness and vapid self-justification. Bill Clegg's story of a man - largely locked in hotel rooms, engaged in a desperate, heart-wrenching battle with himself - is destined to become a cult classic of writing on drug addiction.Irvine Welsh
Bill Clegg's Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man stands up to Frederick Exley's great memoir of alcoholism, A Fan's Notes. It is perhaps even higher praise to think of Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man as Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye on crack. But really, finally, forget the comparisons. Read the book.Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours
A Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man is an instant classic. Anybody who knows anything about addiction will feel morally altered by this book. To an extraordinary degree, it has both beauty and truth. It goes beyond its own revelations to become a book for everybody, a work of art. I suppose we live for the magic of these things.Andrew O'Hagan
Enthralling. Filled with scenes that will stay with you long after the last page, it's a dark and shadowy look into a world most people never escape fromRosie Mullender, Cosmopolitan
Beautifully measured and adroitly paced ... mixing a matter-of-fact eye for detail with just enough emotion to unsettle and engross ... Addictive and masterfulJulian Hall, The Independent
A compelling readEmma Sleight, Time Out
Addictive, and strangely beautifulMaggie Fergusson, Intelligent Life
A gripping, graphic memoir that pounds relentlessly to a climax.Tim Teeman, The Times
Has the power and precision of the best contemporary fiction. It does what the best writing always does, which is to make Clegg's experience part of yours.Andrew O'Hagan, Psychologies
Riveting reading... We salute this bookDazed & Confused
Dark, engrossing...proves that addiction stories do not have to be gratuitous and unashamedly confessionalFiona Atherton, Scotsman
A very, very good book...told in perfect, beautifully clear, Bret Easton Ellis-type proseWilliam Leith, Literary Review
A beautifully written and elegantly frank memoir... A lyrical, funny and shattering narration of a long, hard path.AL Kennedy, Guardian Summer Reading
AudaciousRose Tremain, Guardian Summer Reading
A short book that pulls you in and spits you back out... He can certainly writeDwight Garner, Scotland on Sunday
Stylised, artful memoirSuzi Feay, Financial Times
Loved A Portrait of an Addict as a Young ManWilliam Leith, Spectator, Christmas round up
It's an honest and wonderfully crafted book by a man as intoxicated by language as he was by crack.AL Kennedy, Guardian, Christmas round up
Mesmerising: as well as being beautifully written, it illuminated addiction in a frank and useful fashion, and tied childhood experience into adult problems insightfully.Hannah McGill, Sunday Herald, Christmas round up