By Steven Martin
NEW YORK instances BESTSELLER
A well known authority at the mystery global of opium recounts his descent into ruinous obsession with one of many world’s oldest and such a lot seductive medications, during this harrowing memoir of dependancy and recovery.
A natural-born collector with a nostril for unique experience, San Diego–born Steven Martin his bliss to Southeast Asia, the place he came upon paintings as a contract journalist. whereas discovering an editorial in regards to the vanishing tradition of opium smoking, he was once encouraged to start accumulating infrequent nineteenth-century opium-smoking apparatus. over the years, he accumulated a invaluable collection of beautiful pipes, old lamps, and different opium-related accessories—and begun placing all of it to exploit via smoking a very powerful type of the drug referred to as chandu. yet what began as leisure use grew right into a thirty-pipe-a-day behavior that fed on Martin’s each waking hour, left him incapable of labor, and exacted a frightful actual and monetary toll. In passages that would ship a kick back up the backbone of an individual who has ever lived within the shadow of substance abuse, Martin chronicles his efforts to regulate after which overcome his addiction—from quitting chilly turkey to taking “the treatment” at a Buddhist monastery within the Thai countryside.
right away a strong own tale and a desirable historic survey, Opium Fiend brims with anecdotes and lore surrounding the drug that a few have referred to as the methamphetamine of the nineteenth-century. It remembers the heyday of opium smoking within the usa and Europe and takes us contained in the befogged opium dens of China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. The drug’s beguiling results are defined in brilliant detail—as are the excruciating pains of withdrawal—and there are intoxicating stories of pipes shared with an eclectic selection of opium aficionados, from Dutch dilettantes to hard-core addicts to world-weary international correspondents.
A compelling story of 1 man’s transformation from revered student to hapless drug slave, Opium Fiend places us less than opium’s spell along its protagonist, permitting modern readers to event anew the insidious attract of a diabolical vice that the realm has all yet forgotten.
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Extra info for Opium Fiend: A 21st Century Slave to a 19th Century Addiction
I requested. “I was once a journalist. Freelance. ” Roxanna took the mouthpiece of the pipe in her left hand and held it to her lips, back letting Willi regular the pipe bowl over the lamp. i spotted that she didn't carry the vapors in her lungs as Willi and that i habitually did—she instantly exhaled and did so along with her eyes closed. whilst she opened them back she seemed up at me and smiled, which I took as encouragement to invite one other query. “Did you recognize Michael Herr? ” “I knew neighbors of his. ” back, a brief solution via a grin that i used to be having hassle interpreting. Opium makes one hypersensitive to every thing, together with the emotions of others. during this subject it has approximately the other influence of alcohol. Booze shatters inhibitions; opium fosters empathy. I wasn’t yes even if Roxanna’s response to my questions was once a tender rebuke. i made a decision to make yet one more try prior to shedding it. “Tell me approximately a person i'd have heard of. ” Roxanna took one other draw from the pipe after which rigorously shifted onto her again, rolling her head at the porcelain pillow till she confronted the ceiling. Her eyes have been close and her positive aspects looked as if it would melt because the opium triggered her facial muscle tissues to sit back. i used to be yes she might decline to proceed the conversation—maybe even refuse to speak to me back. Willi shot me a glance that stated, enable her be, and simply as he did, she opened her eyes and commenced to inform a narrative. “I used to be with my acquaintances. there have been approximately six folks, all newshounds and photographers. Saigon used to be anticipated to fall that week and we have been we all there within the urban. There wasn’t any have to fly out of Saigon to seem for the warfare. The scuffling with used to be throughout us. ” Roxanna’s smile used to be in proof back and that i came upon it baffling. Later—much later—I understood her smile to be a manifestation of her acute shyness. “We have been all on the bar of the Continental resort. now not the well-known bar at the terrace—that was once closed for worry of rocket assaults. I wasn’t a lot of a drinker, however the bar on the Continental used to be where to visit seize information or not less than rumors. I take into account we have been conversing in regards to the top technique to hide the autumn, and the way we have been going to get out of South Vietnam after it fell, and while. after which this stranger walked in and appeared round the room like he used to be looking forward to to discover someone. ” Willi quietly started getting ready one other pipe for Roxanna, his events concise and understated in order to not distract from her tale. “There was once anything approximately this guy that made him stand out. He used to be very traditional taking a look, and first and foremost I couldn’t placed my finger on it. He stood there among the tables taking a look round, after which he by chance dropped his laptop at the flooring, and whilst he bent all the way down to choose it up, another such things as a pen and a couple of sun shades fell out of his blouse pocket and hit the ground, too. the man stooped right down to get his issues, and Vietnamese waiters have been additionally down at the flooring attempting to support him, guffawing in that means Vietnamese do while a person embarrasses themselves. by means of then we have been all gazing, and certainly one of my associates acknowledged, ‘Who is that asshole?