White Out: The Secret Life of Heroin

Michael W. Clune. Hazelden (Perseus, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-61649-208-3
A poetic memoir of wit and sharp observation, Clune's work reveals the world of a heroin addict. Through symbolic repetition, he drills in not only the desperate cycles of drug use but also the pulsing thoughts that keep dope necessary in the addict's mind. Clune does not shy away from highlighting the subjective beauties of the drug. His stream-of-consciousness voice rings with rat-a-tat-tat anaphora, exposing the heroin logic of thinking in vials instead of dollars, and aptly incorporates extended metaphors, such as the castle that tries to protect him from withdrawal. In one of many instances of unanticipated humor, he weaves in stark self-analysis to break down the effects of withdrawal. Clune's razor-sharp description of the magical first time he got high exemplifies why this stands out among dime-a-dozen addiction memoirs. Blending light philosophy into his heroin, he vividly describes his childhood; imagining Candy Land as a real place led to the game-changing thought that "the inside of my body is bigger than the outside." Clune's forages into a no-self philosophy culminate in his idealization of communism in the scope of his recovery. At its best, this chronicle keenly touches on the devastations of heroin with disciplined literary flair. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 07/08/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
Open Ebook - 260 pages - 978-1-61649-493-3
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