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Junkie Lit

A chapter from David Carr’s new book, The Night of the Gun, will appear in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. It is an exquisite and painful account of his drug abuse that manages to do something fascinating: Shed light on addiction in a new and important way. Instead of offering up yet another memoir that merely details Carr’s gut-wrenching journey, Carr reports out his own life. With a humbleness too few memoirs adopt (and a humbleness that is, of course, a crux of sobriety), Carr gets the inalterable fact that he himself is not a reliable source in his own autobiography. By tracking down old acquaintances and interviews with his own family, a more complete picture of Carr’s life--the addict’s life--is delineated. Too many addicts will never fully appreciate the toll their disease has taken on others, simply by not remembering. Carr takes the brave and excruciating steps of finding out.

And then there’s the unintentionally hilarious New Yorker rejection letter above. I think Jay McInerney was already on that beat.

Check out Carr's cool and unique website here. I'm pretty blown away by Carr; after endless junkie memoirs, Carr has managed to take what should by all rights be trite and make it visceral, compelling, moving, and, most important, new.

--Sacha Zimmerman

Update: New Yorker letter via Gawker