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Recovery

2016
Author:

John Berryman
Foreword by Saul Bellow

Recovery

Renowned poet John Berryman’s first and only novel, unfinished at the time of his suicide, about “the disease called alcoholism”

A thinly veiled autobiographical novel, Recovery follows Dr. Alan Severance through his emotional journey of Freudian group analysis, where he confesses his humiliations, defeats, and delusions in an attempt to purge himself and achieve normality.

What he needed for his art had been supplied by his own person, by his mind, his wit.

Saul Bellow, from the Foreword

A thinly veiled autobiographical novel, Recovery follows Dr. Alan Severance through his emotional journey of Freudian group analysis, where he confesses his humiliations, defeats, and delusions in an attempt to purge himself and achieve normality.

Recovery

John Berryman (1914–1972) was an American poet and scholar. He spent much of his career at the University of Minnesota. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1964 for 77 Dream Songs and was the recipient of the National Book Award for His Toy, His Dream, His Rest. He is the author of several books of poetry and the biography Stephen Crane. Berryman died in 1972 after jumping to his death from the Washington Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis.

Saul Bellow (1915–2005) was an award-winning author whose works include The Adventures of Augie March, Herzog, Mr. Sammler’s Planet, and Humboldt’s Gift. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1976.

Recovery

What he needed for his art had been supplied by his own person, by his mind, his wit.

Saul Bellow, from the Foreword

Recovery is a brilliantly written, masterful portrayal of man’s battle with himself for survival.

Chicago Sun-Times

What distinguishes Recovery from many fine and powerful fictions about alcoholism are the steps it takes into allegory and art.

Los Angeles Times

The powerful statement of a man who was there and never came back.

Kirkus Reviews

But if Recovery is a fragment, it is a dazzling fragment, every bit as rich and macaberesquely comic as anything in Berryman’s better known poems.

The Independent

Page after page, it displays humiliations and defeats. His novel, while written in prose, has the effect of a poem about the desolation of total selfpunishment. Sometimes, not even God and AA, acting in concert, can help with that.

National Post

Recovery

Contents

Foreword: John Berryman
Saul Bellow
Higgaion
I. First Day
II. The First Step (I-IV)
III. Contract One
IV. The Last Two First Steps
V. Contract Two
VI. Self-Confronted
VII. Dry-Drunk
VIII. The Jewish Kick and the Fifth Step
Selah
Author’s Notes
The Imaginary Jew
The Twelve Steps