After exhausting their resources in the slums of Los Angeles, the nameless narrator and his wife settle in London's worst section - its 'murder mile.' There, perservering past failed treatments and heartbreaking relapses, the narrator reclaims his life and recovers. His wife does not.
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(229mm x 117mm x 21mm)
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc
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US Kirkus Review »
The continuation of O'Neill's autobiographical debut, Digging the Vein (2006), even more caustic than its predecessor. After a quick recount of his descent into a massive opium habit and marriage to similarly fixed Susan, the unnamed narrator confesses the nature of his troubles. "I needed to know that Death was here, in the room, and that I was too fast, too young, and too smart for him." Fleeing Los Angeles, the newlyweds return home to London only to enter the institutional nightmare of the city's overflowing methadone clinics, from which the whip-smart but self-destructive musician reports with fascinating candor. He manipulates his physician while simultaneously using 12-step meetings to find drug dealers to feed his compulsions. Yet he still pretends to be part of society, whether shoplifting from his record store job or practicing his craft as a member of fly-by-night rock bands. While most of the action focuses on the desperate mechanics of addiction, O'Neill also paints London as a character and co-conspirator, illuminating the filthy squalor of council slums and the florescent detritus of a broken system. This is no redemption song. "The lie at the heart of treatment centers, the recovery industry, and self help groups is that that life off drugs is any better than life on them," the narrator declares. "A preposterous idea. The two states coexist in a parallel sense - to say that one is preferable to the other is to miss the point entirely." He struggles to break the kick-then-relapse cycle, but fails until he meets and falls in love with punk-rock princess Vanessa from New York. Call it a junkie fairy tale: Boy meets girl, gets clean and lives.The whole truth with no reservations: not a pretty story, but a rare telling. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Tony O'Neill
In a previous life Tony O'Neill played keyboards for bands and artists as diverse as Kenickie, Marc Almond and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. After moving to Los Angeles his promising career was derailed by heroin addiction, quickie marriages and crack abuse. While kicking methadone he started writing about his experiences on the periphery of the Hollywood Dream and he has been writing ever since. His autobiographical novel Digging the Vein was published in Feb 2006 by Contemporary Press, in the US and Canada. Wrecking Ball Press plan to release a UK edition April 2007. Seizure Wet Dreams, a collection of short stories and poems was released in the UK on Social Disease January 2006. A volume of poetry, Songs From the Shooting Gallery is slated for a spring 2007 release on Burning Shore Press.