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About the book
  • Published: 15 February 2013
  • ISBN: 9781846554629
  • Imprint: Harvill Secker
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $32.99
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The Wet And The Dry

A Drinker's Journey




An enlightening and and entertaining tour of world attitudes to alcohol

Booze is mankind's premier drug of choice, the most used mind-altering substance that has ever been devised, and it plays a furtive, celebrated and subversive role in nearly every culture on earth. For thousands of years it has defined the Mediterranean cultures through its dark symbolism and orgiastic promise, and now in the 21st century it has become the dominant global recreation, either indulged shamelessly or repressed hysterically.

In THE WET AND THE DRY, Lawrence explores the culture of permission, particularly in the West and the opposing culture of prohibition, notably in the Islamic East, seeing how this strange duality has come to form not just whole civilizations but the intricate mechanisms of the private self as well. Does each person, like each culture, tilt between state of 'wet' and 'dry' - between indulgence and austerity, between pleasure and repression? Delving inward, Lawrence looks at alcohol not only in a sociological context, but in a deeply personal one as he traverses and unravels the stories of alcoholism in his own family.

Whether it be alcoholism among the Irish or American Indians, binge-drinking among Koreans, Scotch-collecting in the Saudi upper class or the persistence of 'dry' towns in the United States and the odd 'permit rooms' of urban Pakistan, the struggle between these warring states is insightfully explored in this globe-trotting odyssey in which Osborne's own Irish family history of terrifying alcoholism fails to deter him from staying as inebriated as he can.

  • Pub date: 15 February 2013
  • ISBN: 9781846554629
  • Imprint: Harvill Secker
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $32.99

About the Author

Lawrence Osborne

Born in England, Lawrence Osborne is the author of the critically acclaimed novels The Forgiven, The Ballad of a Small Player, Hunters in the Dark and Beautiful Animals. His non-fiction ranges from memoir through travelogue to essays, including Bangkok Days, Paris Dreambook and The Wet and the Dry. His short story 'Volcano' was selected for Best American Short Stories 2012, and he has written for the New York Times Magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, the New Yorker, Forbes, Harper’s and other publications. He lives in Bangkok.

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Praise for The Wet And The Dry

“Mr Osborne is a superb travel writer, one who, like Evelyn Waugh, can size up a locale at almost a glance. This intoxicating book has political as well as sensual overtones”

Dwight Garner, New York Times

“Anyone interested in the global culture of drink will be captivated by Lawrence Osborne's travel narrative... Mr Osborne is a perspicacious, knowing guide, and a maker of arrestingly beautiful sentences”

Rosie Schaap, New York Times


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