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About Jerry Stahl
Pushcart Prize-winning author Jerry Stahl has written six books, including the memoir Permanent Midnight (made into a film with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson), and the novels Pain Killers and I, Fatty (optioned by Johnny Depp). Former Culture Columnist for Details, Stahl’s widely anthologized fiction and journalism have appeared in a variety of places, including Esquire, The New York Times, Playboy, The Rumpus, and The Believer. He has also written extensively for film and television, including the highest rated episodes of CSI and, most recently, the HBO film Hemingway & Gelhorn, with Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen.
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In 1998, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Maria Bello starred in a film version of Permanent Midnight to much acclaim.
Nic Sheff, author of Tweak, wrote the introduction to this edition.
“Often brilliant, always compelling.” — Pittsburgh Tribune
From acclaimed and controversial author Jerry Stahl comes one of the most vividly subversive, savagely funny, explosive novels yet unleashed in our tender century. Pain Killers is a violent and mind-wrenching masterpiece in the Gonzo Noir style that has earned Jerry Stahl his legion of avid fans. For those who enjoy the works of Chuck Palahniuk, Terry Southern, and Hunter S Thompson—as well as Stahl’s own Permanent Midnight, I Fatty, Perv–A Love Story, and Plainclothes Naked—Pain Killers is sure to please.
Lee Child recruits Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Ames, Cara Black, and others to reveal nicotine's scintillating alter egos.
"Typically for Akashic--publisher of the terrific Noir series--the stories approach the subject matter from an impressive number of angles...Akashic has yet to produce a dull anthology, and this one is especially good."
"Sixteen tributes to America's guiltiest pleasure...Even confirmed anti-smokers will find something to savor."
"The most successful entries delve bone-deep into addiction, as characters smoke to smother physical pain, loneliness, and their days...These writers capture the mental gymnastics behind the characters' bad decisions, and the joy such bad decisions can bring."
In recent years, nicotine has become as verboten as many hard drugs. The literary styles in this volume are as varied as the moral quandaries herein, and the authors have successfully unleashed their incandescent imaginations on the subject matter, fashioning an immensely addictive collection.
Featuring brand-new stories by: Lee Child, Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Ames, Eric Bogosian, Achy Obejas, Michael Imperioli, Hannah Tinti, Ariel Gore, Bernice L. McFadden, Cara Black, Christopher Sorrentino, David L. Ulin, Jerry Stahl, Lauren Sanders, Peter Kimani, and Robert Arellano.
From the introduction by Lee Child:
Food scientists have discovered a complex compound naturally present in, among other things, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. The compound offers us a number of benefits: it improves our fine motor skills; it increases our attention spans; it improves our cognitive abilities; it improves our long- and short-term memories; it lessens depression...In and of itself, it has no real downside. It's called nicotine. We should all get some.
The problem is the delivery system...The most efficient way is to burn dried tobacco leaves and inhale the smoke. Ten seconds later, the compound is in your brain, doing good in all its various ways. Unfortunately, the rest of the smoke doesn't do good. And therein lies a great mystery of human behavior. To get the good, we risk the bad. Or we prohibit ourselves the good, for fear of the bad. Which approach makes more sense?
Lloyd has a particular set of skills. He writes the small print for prescription drugs, marital aids, and incontinence products. The clients present him with a list of possible side effects. His job is "to recite and minimize"—sometimes by just saying them really fast and other times by finding the language that can render them acceptable. The results are ingenious. The methods diabolical.
Lloyd has a habit, too. He cops smack during coffee breaks at his new job writing copy for Christian Swingles, an online dating service for the faithful. He finds a precarious balance between hackwork and heroin until he encounters Nora, a mysterious and troubled young woman, a Sylvia Plath with tattoos and implants, who asks for his help.
Lloyd falls swiftly in love, but Nora bestows her affections at a cost. Before Lloyd clears his head from the fog of romance, he finds himself complicit in Nora's grand scheme to horrify the world and exact revenge on those who poison the populace in order to sell them the cure.
On the heels of The Speed Chronicles (Sherman Alexie, William T. Vollmann, Megan Abbott, James Franco, Beth Lisick, etc.) and The Cocaine Chronicles (Lee Child, Laura Lippman, etc.) comes The Heroin Chronicles, a volume sure to frighten and delight. The literary styles of these stories are as diverse as the moral quandaries they explore.
From the groundbreaking novels of William S. Burroughs to the mind-altering music of The Velvet Underground, heroin—in all its ecstasy and tragedy—has been the subject of many an underground masterpiece. Collected here are all-new short stories about the infamous drug by some of today’s most celebrated and provocative writers, including Eric Bogosian, Lydia Lunch, Jerry Stahl, Nathan Larson, Ava Stander, Antonia Crane, Gary Phillips, Jervey Tervalon, John Albert, Michael Albo, Sophia Langdon, Tony O’Neill, and L.Z. Hansen.
In a wildly careening plot that can only be described as crack noir, two pipeheads accidentally steal a photo of George W. Bush's presidential package and decide to blackmail the Republican Party. Before the crack-crazed thieves can follow through, however, gorgeous, whip-smart Nurse Tina, who's just offed her husband with a bowl of Drano-laced Lucky Charms, absconds with the goods. When Manny Rubert, a scarred ex-junkie turned codeine-popping detective, is called in to investigate the "foamer" hubby's untimely demise, love hits him like a wrench to the head.
Soon Manny and Tina are making plans of their own for the presidential pie -- and for their future together. But the meddling police chiefs and motel room sex-change surgeons of the world just won't leave them alone. And then there are those killer crackheads, still out there and closing in....
Set in 1970, in the last, dark days of hippiedom, Perv -- A Love Story is the saga of Bobby Stark, a sixteen-year-old batch of desire and angst struggling to stay sane in a world gone Day-Glo.
As the novel opens, Bobby loses his virginity in a drug-addled tryst with a one-armed barber's daughter. For his sins he's thrown out of school and dispatched to live with his mom, a festive electro shock aficionado, whose condo he flees to track down Michelle, the gorgeously damaged, lasped Hare Krishna-ette he's adored since kindergarten.
Like the rest of their generation, the couple hit the road for California, only to be picked up in a hell-fueled Lincoln by a pair of Bad Hippies -- Meat and Varnish -- smacked-out spiritual cousins to Charles Manson. From here the trip gets vicious....
Already an underground classic, Perv-A Love Story is relentlessly twisted, sexy, and savagely funny literary excursion, a novel of doomed youth in the era when Flower Power had begun to wilt.