An intriguing premise informs Carr's memoir of drug addiction—he went back to his hometown of Minneapolis and interviewed the friends, lovers and family members who witnessed his downfall. A successful, albeit hard-partying, journalist, Carr developed a taste for coke that led him to smoke and shoot the drug. At the height of his use in the late 1980s, his similarly addicted girlfriend gave birth to twin daughters. Carr, now a New York Times
columnist, gives both the lowlights of his addiction (the fights, binges and arrests) as well as the painstaking reconstruction of his life. Soon after he quit drugs, he was thrown for another loop when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. Unfortunately, the book is less a real investigation of his life than an anecdotal chronicle of wild behavior. What's more, his clinical approach (he videotaped all his interviews), meant to create context, sometimes distances readers from it. By turns self-consciously prurient and intentionally vague, Carr tends to jump back and forth in time within the narrative, leaving the book strangely incoherent. (Aug.)
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"[A] fierce, self-lacerating tale....writing full of that special journalistic energy that is driven by a combination of reporting and intelligence."
--Pete Hamill, The New York Times
"[A] remarkable narrative of redemption...He 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
"3 stars. It's an odyssey you'll find hard to forget."
-- Kim Hubbard, People
"The Night of the Gun
is about as dark and murky as dark and murky get. And though it is one of the most eloquent accounts of the seduction and snare of addiction, what's gotten lost in the water-cooler discussion about Carr's misadventures -- including drug peddling as well as his bout with cancer -- is that this book, in its sharp, serrated prose, is a meditation on how memory works (but mostly how it doesn't), a man's obsessive effort to get at his life's true narrative using the skills he's honed as a reporter, the one piece of his life that didn't combust."
-- George Lynell, L.A. Times
"After years of abuse, the memoir has found its white knight, galloping in to show how a personal story can be engrossing, shocking and true. Mr. Carr's book...practically issues a challenge to thosecurrent reigning kings -- David Sedaris, Augusten Burroughs, Ishmael Beah -- of the memoir genre: You get a video camera and tape recorder, and retrace the steps of your life. Will your story sound the same?...It adds up to a riveting, improbable story. More important, Mr. Carr has produced a work that stands to revive the excitement and thrill of reading about reporting. It's All the President's Men
, but about a dude from Minnesota with a drug habit."
-- New York Observer Review of Books
"There may be no memoirist who has more skillfully used journalistic tools to reconstruct his own life than New York Times
media columnist David Carr in his remarkable and harrowing book, The Night of the Gun
--Jennifer Reese, Entertainment Weekly
"The Night of the Gun
is in part a writerly exercise in defense and disarmament--memoir in the throes of an existential crisis. But that does not prevent it from being a great read. This is largely because, in using his reporter's chops to investigate his own past, Carr taps the very skills that propelled him to survive. His method, as much as his madness, is the story."
"He never asks for sympathy, but his skill and the way he has told his story deserves respect. The Night of the Gun
is an amazingly honest and fascinating memoir."
-- Myrna Blyth, National Review
"The Night of the Gun
, is the fierce, funny, disturbing, brutally honest, and ultimately uplifting story of Carr's decent into a self-inflicted hell and a bumpy return to life. Part investigative page-turner, part redemption song, part meditation on the mercurial nature of memory, The Night of the Gun
pulls a besmirched genre out of the gutter, drags it through rehab, and returns it to a respectable place in society. And, if there is any justice, a place on the best-seller list."
-- Arianna Huffington on Veryshortlist.com