Monday, December 29, 2014

Follow us:
Follow @NY1 on Twitter Follow NY1 News on Facebook Follow NY1 News on Google+ Subscribe to this news feed 


NY1 teams with contributors from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, and Essence Magazine to review the latest books and book-related trends.

The Book Reader: 'The Trip to Echo Spring'

  • Text size: + -
TWC News: The Book Reader: 'The Trip to Echo Spring'
Play now

Time Warner Cable video customers:
Sign in with your TWC ID to access our video clips.

out of 10

Free Video Views Remaining

To get you to the stories you care about, we are offering everyone 10 video views per month.

Access to our video is always free for Time Warner Cable video customers who login with their TWC ID.

  To view our videos, you need to
enable JavaScript. Learn how.
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.

Then come back here and refresh the page.

Parul Sehgal of The New York Times reports for NY1 on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in "The Book Reader."

This week, "The Trip to Echo Spring," Olivia Laing's group portrait of some of America's finest writers and hardest, most determined drinkers: John Cheever, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Raymond Carver.

Laing, a British journalist, begins her book with a simple question: "I wanted to know what made a person drink and what it did to them. More specifically, I wanted to know why writers drink, and what effect this stew of spirits has had upon the body of literature itself."

As much biography as memoir, literary criticism as travelogue, the book is structured around Laing's pilgrimages to the landscapes important to the men. Through her eyes, we see Hemingway's glittering Key West, Carver's gaunt Washington, the lonely hotel room in midtown Manhattan where Tennessee Williams choked to death. Along the way, she plumbs the intersections between addiction, creativity, machismo, mental illness, suicide and childhood trauma.

As the book unfolds, we slowly understand Laing's personal connection to the topic. We learn something of her own secrets and why her sympathy for these men runs so deep.

"The Trip to Echo Spring" was recently reviewed on the cover of the New York Times Book Review by Laurence Osborne, who lauded Laing's artistry and "meticulous respect for the suffering that alcoholism entails combined with a stern refusal to let moralizing trump her literary instinct."

Find more reviews of new books in the New York Times Book Review at ClientIP:,, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP