By Colin Broderick
(Broadway Books, Paperback, 9780307453402, 352pp.)
Publication Date: December 29, 2009
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Few people who have been slave to an addiction as vicious, as destructive, and as unrelenting as Colin Broderick's have lived to tell their tale. Fewer still have emerged from the darkest depths of alcoholism—from the perpetual fistfights and muggings, car crashes and blackouts—to tell the harrowing truth about the modern Irish immigrant experience.
Orangutan is the story of a generation of young men and women in search of identity in a foreign land, both in love with and at odds with the country they've made their home. So much more than just another memoir about battling addiction, Orangutan is an odyssey across the unforgiving terrain of 1980s, '90s, and post-9/11 America.
Whether he is languishing in the boozy squalor of the Bronx, coke-fueled and manic in the streets of Manhattan, chasing Hunter S. Thompson's American Dream from San Francisco to the desert, or turning the South into his beer-soaked playground, Broderick plainly and unflinchingly charts what it means to be Irish in America, and how the grips of heritage can destroy a man's soul. But brutal though Orangutan may be, it is ultimately a story of hope and redemption—it is the story of an Irish drunk unlike any you've met before.
COLIN BRODERICK was raised Irish Catholic in the heart of Northern Ireland. In 1988, at the age of twenty, he moved to the Bronx to drink, work construction, and pursue his dream of becoming a writer. For the next twenty years, as he drank himself into oblivion: there were failed marriages, car wrecks, hospitals and jail cells. Few people who have been a slave to an addiction as vicious, destructive, and unrelenting as Broderick's have lived to tell their tale. Orangutan is the story of an Irish drunk unlike any you've met before. Broderick has written a play, Father Who, and published articles in The Irish Echo, The Irish Voice, and The New York Times.
"Colin Broderick has that magic touch that allows him to mix comedy and tragedy in just the right proportions…Clear, cleanly written, forward-moving, and—best of all—vibrantly alive."
"I have great admiration for the style and the tenacity and the sheer swerve of Colin Broderick's work. He is one of those younger writers who makes sense of where we are right now. He has his finger on the collective pulse."
"Colin Broderick has written a book that is not of the "I was lost & now I am found" genre. It is his unique story of drugs drink dregs & degradation uniquely told and devoid of self pity or any attempt to justify his loony behaviour. Broderick does not preach. He merely says as they did in the old west "Ah wouldn' t do dat if I was you." Read the mans book and it might save a life which might be your own"
"His book is part grail quest, part cautionary tale and part rollicking Irish emigrant’s adventure story. What makes it remarkable is that he manages to snatch a victory out of near impossible odds. This book is written in blood, it deserves to become a classic."
"Readers who appreciate the gritty style of Charles Bukowski or are fans of Augusten Burroughs’s Dry will find this work enveloping."
"It is honest, moving and at times heart-wrenching. Orangutan is, at its core, a story of a man who spent two decades fighting the beast inside of him and surviving life as he did so."
—Irish America magazine
"...to my delight, Broderick has all the storytelling abilities the Irish people have become known for around the world and in almost every culture."
"As a writer, he's a bit like the driver of one of those illegal taxis, taking you at high speed to some very dark places."
—Minneapolis Star Tribune