The Trip To Echo Spring

This is Olivia Laing’s … what? Memoir? Travel diary? Multiple biography? Disquisition on alcoholism? However it’s classed, it’s a fine piece of writing around six Americans – Cheever, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Carver, Berryman and Tennessee Williams – all, as Laing says, in thrall to alcohol. Only two managed (late in life) to conquer their addiction. And, between them, they produced some of the most memorable twentieth-century writing.
Laing travels in their tracks, across America, their real, and imagined, country. Seamlessly, she interposes her own observations and memories; fragments of her life, shadowed by others’ addiction to alcohol. It’s an insightful, intriguing journey. Read it.