> Skip to content
  • Published: 8 June 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446483633
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 240

Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man

A Memoir



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.

  • Published: 8 June 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446483633
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 240

About the author

Bill Clegg

Bill Clegg is the author of the bestselling memoirs Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man and Ninety Days. His first novel, Did You Ever Have a Family, was longlisted for the Booker Prize.

Also by Bill Clegg

See all

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 from

Rosie 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 masterful

Julian Hall, The Independent

A compelling read

Emma Sleight, Time Out

Addictive, and strangely beautiful

Maggie 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 book

Dazed & Confused

Dark, engrossing...proves that addiction stories do not have to be gratuitous and unashamedly confessional

Fiona Atherton, Scotsman

A very, very good book...told in perfect, beautifully clear, Bret Easton Ellis-type prose

William 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

Audacious

Rose Tremain, Guardian Summer Reading

A short book that pulls you in and spits you back out... He can certainly write

Dwight Garner, Scotland on Sunday

Stylised, artful memoir

Suzi Feay, Financial Times

Loved A Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man

William 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

Related titles