Alan Kaufman has been compared to Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller, Hubert Selby Jr., even Ernest Hemmingway--his life reads so much like a great movie that the world of cinema has just optioned his first memoir, Jew Boy, for a feature film. Drunken Angel, his new autobiographical work, drops like a sledgehammer. It is the most gripping, chilling and inspiring account ever written of a life-long battle with alcoholism and the struggle to write. Graphic in its grit, an education in pain, Drunken Angel is being hailed as "the Naked Lunch of memoirs."
The book chronicles Kaufman's headlong plunge into the piratical life of a literary drunk, and takes us shamelessly through noirish alleyways of S&M sensuality, forbidden pleasures and pitfalls of adultery, the thrilling horrors of war, plus raging poetry nights, mental illness, homelessness, literary struggle and his strange, magnificent rise into a sobriety of personal triumph as crazily improbable as the famous and notorious figures he meets along the way. Drunken Angel contains revealing portraits of such literary figures as Allen Ginsberg, Kathy Acker, Barney Rosset, Anthony Burgess, Elie Wiesel, Ron Kolm, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Jim Feast, Bernard Malamud, Hubert Selby Jr., Bob Holman, Sapphire, not to speak of the gutter dreamers, Nuyorican Poets, Unbearables, Babarians, Slammers, Black foot Indians, commandos, criminals, junkies, renegade cocktail waitresses, hoboes, painters, and a host of others who each in some way, big or small, play their part in peopling the wildly exilerating drama of Kaufman's passionate and exotic life.
Whether the addiction be booze, women, violence, writing or fame, Kaufman honors us with an explicit honesty that only a writer of enormous power and artistic greatness can attain, and his life, as Drunken Angel poignantly shows, is a profoundly meaningful quest for truth and spiritual values.