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A raw and groundbreaking journey to the depths of addiction, from the author of Our Daily Bread, longlisted for the Giller Prize
Colleen Kerrigan wakes up sick and bruised, with no clear memory of the night before. It’s Monday morning, and she is late for work again. She’s shocked to see the near-empty vodka bottle on her kitchen counter. It was full at noon yesterday; surely she didn’t drink that much last night? As she struggles out the door, she fights the urge to have a sip, just to take the edge off. But no, she’s not going to drink today.
But this is the day Colleen’s demons come for her. A very bad day spirals into night as a series of flashbacks take the reader through Colleen’s past moments of friendship and loss, fragments of peace and possibility. The single constant is the bottle, always close by, Colleen’s worst enemy and her only friend.
In this unforgettable work, acclaimed novelist Lauren B. Davis has created as searing, raw and powerful a portrayal of the chaos and pain of alcoholism as we have encountered in fiction. Told with compassion, insight and an irresistible gallows humour, The Empty Room takes us to the depths of addiction, only to find a revelation at its heart: the importance and grace of one person reaching out to another.
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"A rare act of courage.... A brilliant, defiant examination of desire, loss, sorrow, triumph and grace."
--Ami McKay, author of The Birth House and The Virgin Cure
"Soaked in alcoholism and addiction, this story plumbs the bottomless human genius for self-deception and our singular talent for wandering into hellholes of our own design. Lauren B. Davis writes deftly, never averting her gaze--and never letting go of the fact that threads of grace lie always within our grasp."
--Alan Cumyn, author of The Famished Lover and The Sojourn
"Unflinching and unsentimental, The Empty Room charts a day from hell in the life of Colleen Kerrigan, alone, nearly 50, and spiralling into yet another alcoholic binge. It is a credit to the brilliance and humanity of novelist Lauren B. Davis that, even in this nightmare, we find utter truth, wicked humour and just enough hope to keep on reading."
- Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes
"This is a raw, exciting book--alcoholism from deep inside the jaws of death and denial. To call it 'honest' is a disservice: it is scalding."
--Bharati Mukherjee, author of Desirable Daughters and Miss New India
"In The Empty Room, Lauren B. Davis has given us an honest, brave account of self-destruction, one that harrowingly reminds us that recovery from the abyss of alcoholism is never easy, but eloquently hints at what is possible when the self-deception and denial end."
--Linden McIntyre, author of The Bishop's Man and Why Men Lie
In The Empty Room, Davis portrays the frustrating doggedness of an alcoholic unable to recognize her problem with such insight ... Her alcoholism has a narrative; it explains why she's become the woman she's become. Davis skilfully juggles Colleen's past and present.... vivid ... heart-wrenching scenes of tenderness.
Davis heartbreakingly renders the disturbed thought process of someone trapped in addiction.The Quill & Quire
Page-turner captures horrors of alcoholism. The Empty Room, excellent itself, joins an impressive list of literary novels devoted to the evils of booze. She captures all the mannerisms, rationalizations and cover-ups of the classic alcoholic in a remarkable novel that proves to be a real page-turner. Davis moves seamlessly in and out of Colleen's mind as she convinces herself she either needs the next drink or must prepare for when she needs one later. Davis shows her mastery of dialogue and also her versatility. Davis succeeds in giving us a character we continue to hope for even as Colleen's situation grows more and more grim; and she skilfully shows the funny side of horrific and degrading scenes while never causing us to laugh at her protagonist, always retaining our sympathy.
Winnipeg Free Press
The Empty Room is an unflinching depiction of a woman's descent into alcoholism ... tells the truth about the lives of everyday folk.
Davis puts readers deep into Colleen's mind so they can see her fight the bottle to get her life back.
Halifax Chronicle Herald
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 2013. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P111443418293
Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 2013. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1443418293