Book Review: The Trip to Echo Spring: Why Writers Drink by Olivia Laing

The Trip to Echo Spring by Olivia Laing Title: The Trip to Echo Spring: Why Writers Drink
Author: Olivia Laing
Publisher: Canongate Books
ISBN: 9781847677945
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 284
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

There is this thing with almost all writers. They have weird obsessions most of the times, and sometimes they are just addicted to everything or that one thing that they think makes them. Drinking is one of them. I have heard and read about so many stories about writers who are alcoholics, but never wondered why. I always assumed it would be something to do with their creative genius. I always wanted to know more about the condition and why do writers get down that road.

Olivia Laing’s book could not have come at a better time. I wanted to read something serious and got it served on a platter. The book is humane and full of empathy. It never once judges anyone or the situation. “The Trip to Echo Spring: Why Writers Drink” is a well-researched book, chronicling the lives of six writers who loved to drink – John Cheever, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman and Raymond Carver. The writers’ selection could not have been better.

What I love about the book is the way Laing presents situations. Having grown up in an alcoholic family herself, Laing makes sense of this disease with all sincerity or tries to with great effort. She looks at these writers’ lives, what was common to them, how the likeness then led them to addiction and in some cases recovery as well.

The surprising and sometimes most wondrous thing which Laing goes on to discover is the connection between drinking and their writing. The writing as I said before is very strong and exciting. There is never a dull moment in the book and that happens very rarely in a piece of non-fiction. At the end of the day, read the book to know about creative geniuses and their dependency on alcohol – an extremely interesting insight.

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