Ian Thomson

A Trip to Echo Spring, by Olivia Laing – review

Left: a glassy-eyed Tennessee Williams in a bar in Turkey, c.1948. Right: the poet John Berryman at his desk, tumbler to hand. Getty Images | Shutterstock | iStock | Alamy

The boozer’s life is one of low self-esteem and squalid self-denial. It was memorably evoked by Charles Jackson in his 1944 novel The Lost Weekend; having hocked his typewriter for a quart of rye, the writer Don Birnam spends his lost weekend in a New York psychiatric ward, with a fractured skull.

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