Idiot Wind

Canongate. Aug. 2019. 352p. ISBN 9781786897367. $24; ebk. ISBN 9781786897374. MEMOIR
Debut author Kaldheim adds a lot of life to a played-out genre—the addiction and recovery memoir. His recovery consists of a penniless hitchhiking journey across America, from Brooklyn to Seattle, precipitated by a drug deal gone wrong. As Kaldheim readily acknowledges, he quit cocaine and alcohol because he had no more money to support his habit. Because of this, the focus here is not on the horrors of substance abuse, but on moving forward from addiction. While readers are kept in suspense about how Kaldheim’s journey will end—will he relapse, will he find peace—there is ultimately a happy ending, with the author settling into a new drug-free life. Kaldheim largely avoids the platitudes so common to these kind of memoirs, and instead takes a more matter-of-fact view of how his life has come full circle.
VERDICT A very readable, even superior, addition to the addiction memoir genre.

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