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The Long Haul Paperback – Sep 30 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press (Sept. 30 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932360069
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932360066
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 14 x 1.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Stern's slim debut, centered on the tumultuous six-year affair between a needy, self-absorbed young musician referred to only as "the Alcoholic," and the unnamed, enabling narrator, paints a rich picture of mid-1990s undergraduate and postcollege anomie. Details of the Gen-X experience-drinking at dive bars; going to rock shows attended by a "United Nations" of "fraternity brothers, sorority sisters, punks, skater kids, techno freaks"-are cleanly rendered, and Stern's tone is a spot-on mix of nostalgia, sympathy and ennui. The story begins with the Alcoholic, a locally successful musician, self-destructing on stage at the unnamed college he and the narrator attend in upstate New York, a victim of his own drunken melodrama. The narrator blames herself-as she will continue to do throughout the novel-convinced that her fib about a former love caused his meltdown. Her slow slide into a depression caused by the Alcoholic's superficial, controlling love, and the Alcoholic's overwhelming need for validation are the forces that drive the narrative. Juxtaposing the couple's life upstate with their later days in New York City, Stern shows the dysfunctional relationship in its moments of light (the first blush of affection; an ill-conceived nighttime quest for a corkscrew) and darkness (fighting; a miscarriage; an attempted rape). Though the narrator is sometimes frustratingly passive, she is also articulate and skillful at telling her own sharp, dark coming-of-age story.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

""Amanda Stern has rendered a powerful impression of confusion, ambivalence, regret, rage, and occasional bliss with an exactitude that is, itself, funny and endearing."

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The Alcoholic says be prepared. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
Amanda Stern isn't pretty and that's exactly why I love this book. She doesn't cover her narrator's co-dependency, depression, anger, rage (all the fantastic range of emotions) with cheapened exposition, precious images and sing-song prose. Rather, her prose is sharp, short and powerful and the dialogue or sometimes the lack thereof between the unnamed narrator and the "Alcoholic" really tells it all. Engaging, I sometimes winced over several scenes (the heroin needle in the stomach, the attempted rape scene in another story), however, this is the true gift of the writer...the ability to shake me and propel me forward, wanting me to read more. Far from a precious book, this novel sustains, engages and sucks the reader in. Brava! And I cannot wait for the next novel.
On a side note, why is this fantastic book paired with the horrible James Frey novel?
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By A Customer on Oct. 18 2003
Format: Paperback
What amazes me about this book is that it's gotten so little attention. In a way, I'm pleased, I'd like to keep Amanda Stern a secret for a while. Unlike the privileged and over hyped women writers in Ms. Stern's generation (you know who i'm referring to) Ms. Stern is the real thing. She has clearly written this novel from her heart. It is brave and courageous and she has guts. I too see the comparisons to Denis Johnson (this is the one article I've found on Stern floating around out there) but she is very much her own stylist and manages to imbue her novel with such substance and free-spirited language that she arguably stands in a class by herself. No comparisons necessary. She is a writer to watch and savor. Let's hope she has a lot more of this in her.
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By A Customer on Oct. 7 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is cool. It's writing is so spare it's complicated. It's one of those books i imagine seeing stuck out of people's back pockets, bent and haggard like it's been through the wash. It's about this Alcoholic, called, just that and his damaged desperate girlfriend, who is actually likeable. Together they swamp through the bilge and actually, truly, make it out. Well, at least one of them does. That's cool they're making a movie of it. I've read this book twice already so I bet I'd see the movie like four times. A MUST READ!!
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By A Customer on Dec 9 2003
Format: Paperback
I heard Stern read at my college in Nashville. She was stellar, a total rock star. Witty, energetic, enthusiastic and utterly charming, but I hadn't read her book yet. I have since read it and can only say, more! Please! She speaks to my generation (college aged, struggling) with a vibrance and freshness that is ferocious in its orginality of language and brutal in its honesty. She's something else. A must read. A must see her read. This girl has me totally whipped.
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By A Customer on Oct. 7 2003
Format: Paperback
Amanda Stern knows how to whip her prose into a real hilarious and dark word froth. The characters might be people you actually know (or ran away from) which gives this novel a real edge and adds to the multiple chuckles of recognition (no small feat). This is one of those books that I really hope they turn into a movie...rumor has it that a representative from Hal Wilner's production company has been talking about optioning it...we can only hope.
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