The Night of the Gun
A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of His Life. His Own.
By David Carr
(Simon & Schuster, Paperback, 9781416541530, 389pp.)
Publication Date: June 2, 2009
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Do we remember only the stories we can live with? The ones that make us look good in the rearview mirror? In "The Night of the Gun," David Carr redefines memoir with the revelatory story of his years as an addict and chronicles his journey from crack-house regular to regular columnist for "The New York Times." Built on sixty videotaped interviews, legal and medical records, and three years of reporting, "The Night of the Gun" is a ferocious tale that uses the tools of journalism to fact-check the past. Carr's investigation of his own history reveals that his odyssey through addiction, recovery, cancer, and life as a single parent was far more harrowing--and, in the end, more miraculous--than he allowed himself to remember.
In one sense, the story of "The Night of the Gun" is a common one--a white-boy misdemeanant lands in a ditch and is restored to sanity through the love of his family, a God of his understanding, and a support group that will go unnamed. But when the whole truth is told, it does not end there. As a reporter and columnist at the nation's best newspaper, he prospered, but gained no more adeptness at mood-altering substances. He set out to become a nice suburban alcoholic and succeeded all too well, including two more arrests, one that included a night in jail wearing a tuxedo.
Ferocious and eloquent, courageous and bitingly funny, "The Night of the Gun" unravels the ways memory helps us not only create our lives, but survive them. This is "an odyssey you'll find hard to forget" ("People," 4 stars).
"A fierce, self-lacerating tale...writing full of that special journalistic energy that is driven by a combination of reporting and intelligence." --Pete Hamlin, "The New York Times"
"A remarkable narrative of redemption...Carr writes with grace and precision....With grit and a recovering user's candor, Mr. Carr has written an arresting tale." --Edward Kosner, "The Wall Street Journal.
Emily Bazelon recommends a memoir about facing the danger and squalor of addiction and eventually overcoming it, while Abigail Deutsche ponders the love story at the heart of Edward St. Aubyn's novel Bad News: The one between a man and his drugs. More at NPR.org
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