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How to Stop Time


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About the Author

Ann Marlowe is a New York writer and critic who has written on music, books, and culture for The Village Voice, LA Weekly, Artforum, and Bookforum. She lives in New York City.


Within this book's topical segments, which are alphabetically arranged (e.g., "digital," "doll house," "dope fiend"), New York writer/critic Marlowe fluently describes her dope-addicted years. A "dully painful" childhood; her father's incurable, debilitating illness; her need to transcend gender and cultural conventions; her pervasive dread of an uncontrollable life; the drug scene in the 1980s; and her fascination with rock music all converged to enable a life structured around heroin use. "Dope," she says, "was a home, a psychic space...providing a predictable comfort and security." Now, heroin free, she brings her current insights to bear on those times, exploring what the experiences meant and their relevance to her present life. An articulate and eloquently written work, this is highly recommended for what should be an interested general readership.ÄSuzanne W. Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology, Alfred Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Part memoir, part cultural criticism and part junkie riff, journalist Marlowe's fragmented reflections on her seven years as a heroin addict provide further insight into a world illuminated by such works as Jim Carroll's The Basketball Diaries and William S. Burroughs's Junkie. Marlowe holds her own against these heavyweights with a series of short essays, each categorized alphabetically under such headers as "first time," "narcosis" and "sacrifice." Under the entry "god" she writes: "Addiction creates a god so that time will stopÄwhy all gods are created." After a relatively benign and comfortable life growing up in a New Jersey suburb, Marlowe consciously sought out the god of heroin after moving to Manhattan. With a combination of detached observation and painful memory, Marlowe presents an honest and compelling account of what it was like to cruise by a buying spot and have sex while on dope. She also proves to be an excellent cultural commentator, presenting insights into why people start using drugs, how society glamorizes heroin whereas actual users do not and how men and women take drugs differently. By cross-referencing her entries, she allows the reader to skip from one period of her life to another in a shaky chronology of moments of stopped time. This inventive form effectively illustrates the random quality of memory, especially when under the influence of drugs. Marlowe's excellent writing makes her memoir an important and fascinating addition to the literature of addiction. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

"A very impressive book, all the more so because of its remarkable calm and
restraint after such a terrifying experience." -Penelope Fitzgearld

"Ann Marlowe is a. . .relentless moral essayist and a secret poet. Her book burns as it goes down one's craw, and it keeps burning in memory." --Luc Sante

"A self-portrait of a coolly cantankerous woman, reformed but unrepentant."--The New York Times

"The little black dress of dope books. Smart, sleek and savagely subtle, Ms. Marlowe is the most gifted druggie to pop out of Harvard since the late Timothy Leary."--Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight

"A self-portrait of a coolly cantankerous woman, reformed but unrepentant." --The New York Times

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