The Trip to Echo Spring

On Writers and Drinking

Olivia Laing

The Trip to Echo Spring by Olivia Laing (Paperback ISBN 9781786891600) book cover

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A captivating exploration of alcoholism and literature by the author of The Lonely City; ‘beguiling, beautifully written … brilliant and original’ - Sunday Times

Why were so many authors of the greatest works of literature consumed by alcoholism? In The Trip to Echo Spring, Olivia Laing takes a journey across America, examining the links between creativity and drink in the overlapping work and lives of six extraordinary men: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, John Cheever and Raymond Carver.

From Hemingway’s Key West to Williams’s New Orleans, Laing pieces together a topographical map of alcoholism, and strips away the tangle of mythology to reveal the terrible price creativity can exert.

“One of the best books I’ve read about the creative uses of adversity: frightening but perversely inspiring”
Hilary Mantel

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“A work of art, with a voice and a mood all its own.”
nick Hornby

“Original, brave and very moving … Her insights shine with beauty yet are shaded by sympathy and compassion”

“A terrific writer”
the Times

“Full of insight, compassion and unexpected beauty”

Olivia Laing

Olivia Laing is a widely acclaimed writer and critic. Her work appears in numerous publications, including the Guardian, Observer, New Statesman, Frieze and New York Times. She’s a Yaddo and MacDowell Fellow and was 2014 Eccles Writer in Residence at the British Library. Her first book, To the River, was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the Dolman Travel Book of the Year. The Trip to Echo Spring was shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Biography Award and the 2014 Gordon Burn Prize. Her third book, The Lonely City, was shortlisted for the 2016 Gordon Burn Prize. She lives in Cambridge.

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