cover image I Swear I’ll Make It Up to You: A Life on the Low Road

I Swear I’ll Make It Up to You: A Life on the Low Road

Mishka Shubaly. PublicAffairs, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-61039-558-8

In this memoir of darkness and redemption, singer/songwriter Shubaly describes his virulent romance with alcohol and his struggle to escape the toxic embrace by way of long-distance running. When Shubaly was 16 his father abandoned the family, condemning his wife and children to poverty. Shubaly plunged into a cycle of binges and blackout drunks while stumbling through miserable jobs, toxic relationships, a fiction M.F.A. at Columbia, and a fruitless music career in New York City. A chance run to retrieve a stranded bicycle led to a new obsession, one that allowed him to negotiate a truce with his demons. While Shubaly certainly doesn’t lack for powerful material—most notably his experience of a mass-shooting at Simon’s Rock—he profusion of tragedies tends to diminish their impact. His dark humor and mordant self-flagellation save the episodic narrative from monotony. Out of a cast of hundreds, only Shubaly’s father becomes a three-dimensional figure and their troubled relationship provides an emotional focus to the book. (Mar.)