Synopses & Reviews
With vulnerability, grit, and hard-won humor, acclaimed novelist Joshua Mohr returns with his first book-length work of non-fiction, a raw and big-hearted chronicle of substance abuse, relapse, and family compassion.
Sirens provides a harrowing and complicated account of Mohr's years of substance abuse and culpability. Employing the characterization and chimerical prose for which he has been lauded, Mohr leaves no rock from his sordid past un-turned, from his childhood swilling fuzzy navels as a latch-key kid, through the black-outs and fist-fights, his first failed marriage to his path to sobriety, through the birth of his daughter and the three strokes he suffers in his thirties that reveal he has a literal hole in his heart.
Sirens is a spectacularly moving tome of honesty and emotion from one of our most gifted contemporary writers.
"New Dad nearly becomes Newly Dead Dad in Joshua Mohr’s astonishing, heart-in-the-mouth, darkly funny and wildly inspiring memoir, Sirens. What Mohr endured — three strokes in his 30s and heart surgery, and that’s just the fun part — is more than most of us will suffer in a lifetime. Happily, the worse his prognosis, the stronger his writing. Until, by the end of his hospital party, what emerges is a cri de coeur of power, intensity, and — I’m just going to say it — love. This is the kind of book that makes you want to grab strangers at bus stops and scream at them to read. Think Kathy Acker, think Denis Johnson, think Amy Hempel. Sirens is a truly powerful work of art, by an artist we’re all lucky to have alive and working." Jerry Stahl
"Fast and fascinating as the life it chronicles, it's also a blueprint for how to rebuild a life you've burned down, a paean to the redemptive powers of love and art." Justin St. Germain
"This isn’t your average recovery memoir. No mere spinning of war stories here. Joshua Mohr has written a raw, openhearted account of his struggles with alcohol and drugs, told in clear, beautiful prose that doesn’t romanticize his substance abuse or his hard work toward sobriety. Mohr’s honesty in this book is astonishing and necessary, his candor about hitting bottom and relapsing deeply moving and important. It’s a hell of a compelling read." Cari Luna
"To the short list of genuinely great addiction memoirs we can now add Joshua Mohr's Sirens, a searing and at times hilarious account of Mohr's lost years in the dive bars and gutters of San Francisco. Like Mary Karr and Jerry Stahl, there is no line Mohr won't cross, either in his erstwhile quest for self-immolation, or his fearless honesty in reporting back from that time. But what sets this book apart is Mohr's unwillingness to traffic in pat notions of redemption: he cleans up, sure, but he also takes pains to remind us that the monster is always lurking, ever-patient, waiting for the right moment to show its face and seek release." Ron Currie, Jr.
About the Author
Joshua Mohr is the author of Some Things that Meant the World to Me, one of Oprah Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a San Francisco Chronicle best-seller, Termite Parade, an Editors’ Choice on The New York Times Best Seller List, Damascus, called "Beat-poet cool" by The New York Times, and, most recently Fight Song and All This Life, which received a boxed review at Publishers Weekly. He recently moved with his family to Seattle, Washington.
Joshua Mohr on PowellsBooks.Blog
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