The Grass Arena : An Autobiography
by John Healy , Colin Maccabe
Editor: Penguin Books Ltd
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John Healy of The Herb Arena describes with unfailing honesty his experiences of addiction, his escape through teaching chess in prison, and his constant search for peace of mindThis Penguin Classics edition includes an afterword by Colin MacCabeIn his autobiographical furnace Healy describes his fifteen years living on the streets in London without help from the state, at the time of begging an automatic three years in prison and vagrant alcoholics run in parks and streets in search of drink or preyWhen he is not united in their common goal of acquiring alcohol, winos sometimes murdered each other over prostitutes or a bottle, or begging for moneySome modern writers have managed to correspond to Healy has the power to refine from the brutal state of destruction of chronic alcoholism, a story so convincing, it is beyond comparisonJohn Healy (bIn 1943) was born in a poor, Irish immigrant family, in the slums of Kentish Town, north of LondonOutside school by 14, pressed into the army and, intermittently, into prison, Healy became an alcoholic very early in lifeDespite these obstacles Healy achieved remarkable, indeed phenomenal expertise in writing and chess, as noted in the autobiographical, The Herb of the ArenaIf you liked The Herb of the Arena, you could, like Last Exit to Brooklyn, also available in Penguin Modern ClassicsSober and precise, grotesque, violent, sad, charming and hilarious at the same time the “Revue Littéraire” next to it, a book like Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London seems rather imprecise tourist guide’ Colin MacCabe
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