In the Open: Diary of a Homeless Alcoholic

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9780226157672: In the Open: Diary of a Homeless Alcoholic

Compelling, raw, and painfully self-aware, In the Open describes an existence most people can barely imagine. A first-hand account of one man's struggle with homelessness and alcoholism, this diary records a world full of physical degradation and despair that is not without unpredictable moments of striking beauty.

Donohue's experiences are brutal, but his perceptions are poetic. This account of an intelligent and sensitive man in the grip of alcoholism and homelessness challenges our perceptions of those on the margins of American contemporary life.

"Donohue recorded this often-moving account during a four-year period of homelessness caused by his alcoholism. . . . There are many brilliant observations here on a range of topics, including human nature, technology, and capitalism. . . . Donohue's life on the fringe also provides an inside look at the homeless system of overnight shelters, labor offices, and food stamp providers. But, somehow, in spite of all the negatives, a hopeful book emerges."—Booklist

"A startlingly original book. In this confessional age, Donohue's diary becomes a different sort of tell-all, a palimpsest that forces us to extract the author from his own writing. . . . Donohue comes to resemble Swift's Gulliver"—Nicholas Nesson, Boston Phoenix

"Donohue punctuates his account of 'domiciling within the black walls of a mosquito-infested night' with rambling metaphysical asides in the style of an eighteenth-century philosophe."—Molly McQuade, Lingua Franca

"Despite hunger, homelessness, dead-end jobs and abusive drinking, what is most striking about Donohue is his amazing optimism and endurance."—Patrick Markee, Nation

"Donohue is a gifted writer. . . . But what gives [his diary] the breath of life is that it is written by an artist."—Alec Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times Book Review

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Review:

Imagine Charles Bukowski with a degree in business administration, rambling across the United States and holding forth on business and the drinking life. Timothy Donohue is literate and intelligent, he's fond of quoting Emerson, and his head is bursting with novel ideas about how to make the economy work better. He's also blind drunk much of the time. When lucid he recounts his misadventures in his journal.

This book is startling, a brutal first-person narrative of life on the drunken underside of America. It's also often infuriating. Donohue is obviously intelligent and seems to have chosen his life in the gutter. While one might honestly wonder why we should listen to a drunk who sleeps in ditches expound on esoteric economic theories, the quality of the writing and the power of the narrative carry the day. In the Open is a peculiar book that disturbs as it enlightens.

From the Back Cover:

Timothy Donohue lives in a world we have seldom understood. He spends his days in missions and flophouses; daily labor offices and the work they provide; public libraries in which this and other manuscripts have been written; and many campsites in several states, including Minnesota, California, Nevada, and Hawaii. These campsites are neglected corners of out-of-the-way lots where Donohue pitches his small tent and keeps his belongings, or they are culverts or abandoned boxes and containers where his gear is stolen. Remarkably, his writings have somehow survived his bouts of self-destruction and the accidents and vicissitudes of his hard life. We see his world from the inside. We learn the coping strategies, the natural reactions, the logic and self-deceptions of the homeless alcoholic. Donohue remembers most of the details of his prodigious drinking. Alcohol produces pleasant highs increasing his perceptual acuity and his poetic appreciation for landscape. He experiences momentary optimism, followed by pits of despair. Alcohol becomes the Devil's visit, the ruination of all plans; the substance that leads him to alienate those he loves and even to insult strangers and otherwise behave in a manner for which he later feels revulsion and guilt. Donohue tries to stop drinking, using rational methods such as limiting his drinking to a predetermined amount, but fails. He inherits money which he will use as the basis of a sober productive life, but fails. Yet his life is suffused with hope and will. Donohue spends many nights in the desert writing songs and melodies. He calls upon Emerson when discussing balance and natural justice in creation; he reflects on Einstein's theories of space andhow they confirm the existence of God. He even develops an extensive proposal for food stamp reform while working for a food processing industry. Donohue is an economist, a composer, a social critic, a theologian, and a writer whose prose is as honest and uncompromising as it is fluid and poetic. In the Open is a brilliant journal. Like Orwell's Down and Out, it will make an enduring contribution to our understanding of a fringe of social life.

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 1996. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 2nd ed.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. This work describes an existence most people can barely imagine. A first hand account of one man s struggle with homelessness and alcoholism, this diary records a world of physical degradation and despair that is not without unpredictable moments of striking beauty. Timothy Donohue s diary chronicles four years of homeless existence from February of 1990 to December of 1994. Frequenting public libraries and renting typewriters, Donohue begins writing a journal in an effort to control his addiction. His days are marked by visits to missions and labour offices, his nights by the dilemma of finding a place to sleep. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780226157672

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Book Description 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 2nd. Hardcover. Compelling, raw, and painfully self-aware, "In the Open" describes an existence most people can barely imagine. A first-hand account of one man's struggle with .Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 210 pages. 0.472. Bookseller Inventory # 9780226157672

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