“The Trip to Echo Spring” by Olivia Laing

Books read-3

“The Trip to Echo Spring:  On Writers and Drinking”

by:  Olivia Laing

Non-fiction, 297 pages

If you read my last book post, you might see a trend.  For now, this is the last of books about writing/writers.

The basic premise of the book follows the author as she travels across the U.S. examining 6 of America’s famous writers and their relationship with alcohol.

The six authors covered are, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, John Cheever, and Raymond Chandler.  All had a problem with alcohol.  Despite this, they all contributed greatly to American writing.

This book investigated how alcoholism and creativity may go hand in hand.   Each of the six men had issues surrounding their personal and writing lives.  Alcohol was their way of coping with those issues.

As an aspiring writer who loves to imbibe on a somewhat regular basis, this book intrigued me.  Not from a troubled standpoint but to gain insight into their creativity.  While reading this book I realized early on, each of these men was on a whole other level of drinking, beyond the social and fun loving drinker.

My overall opinion of the book was a good one.  I enjoyed their stories and digging deeper into their lives.  There was plenty I did not know about each author.  This book was a mix of travel, biography, autobiography (in places), alcoholism, writing, creativity and many quotes.

However, the jarring way the author jumped around within chapters disrupted the flow.  At times I found it hard to follow and even questioned which author she was referencing.

This book is best for the discerning reader.  Attention while reading is paramount.  It is best suited for those interested in writing, alcohol and the above writers.  If you are looking for a simple book for drinks and poolside fun, this is not it.