Linda Yablonsky The Story of Junk: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780374270247

The Story of Junk: A Novel

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9780374270247: The Story of Junk: A Novel
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A New York City junkie and heroin dealer re-evaluates her life when one of her associates reveals her identity to a DEA agent

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Review:

The early '80s in the lower east side of New York was a thrilling time for the popular music and art culture created at the end of the punk and New Wave eras. It was also a devastating time of drug addiction and the beginning of AIDS awareness. In her stunning first novel, Linda Yablonsky, a survivor of that dangerous time, tells the story of a would-be writer turned heroin junkie who deals to queers, artists, punks, and yuppies. This is an exquisitely written, brutal, caring book.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Magazine writer Yablonsky debuts with a restless memoir of a female heroin dealer who caters to Manhattan's art world. In 1980, the nameless narrator is working as a cook at Sticky's, a ferociously happening restaurant usually filled with quasi-famous artists and rockers. An ever-adventurous gal-on-the- scene, she occasionally sells packets of heroin out of the kitchen. Then she gets introduced to glamorous Kit, the guitarist in a band called Toast, and soon the two women are live-in lovers. Kit's a serious user, and shooting up together before their morning coffee becomes habitual. When the narrator starts meeting suppliers and discovering that she can support her habit by selling to her friends, she gets a kick out of turning her dealing into an ``art,'' enjoying the repetitive nature of the deal, even enjoying packaging the carefully weighed product in prettily cut-up art magazines. She turns her living room into a salon of sorts, and before long she's quit the restaurant and is dealing full time. Included are minimally detailed portraits of the various poseurs on the scene, and tales of street scores on the Lower East Side. There's a drugged-out road trip to Canada with Toast, plus the requisite scare at the border, and even a buying trip to the highlands of Thailand and a summer vacation in Italy. And there is illness: Kit is hospitalized with a near-fatal heart infection; numerous friends are HIV-infected, and some die painful deaths. Inevitably, the narrator is busted and betrays a supplier/friend to the police with loud protestations of regret but little evidence of real anguish. Yablonsky may be dead-on accurate in her portraiture, but her hazy, episodic look at a culture mired in terminal aimlessness is finally tedious and only minimally affecting. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Linda Yablonsky
Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux (T) (1997)
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