The Lost Weekend by Charles Jackson

The Lost Weekend (1944) is the story of a man in the grip of alcohol; it moves forward with speed, force, and heartbreaking truth. Don Birnam is someone you know and care about. His loneliness, his craving for drink, his dangerous hangovers, his daydreams of himself as a genius and actual nightmares are unforgettable experiences.

Perhaps the only thing keeping Birnam from drinking himself to death is his girlfriend Helen, a selfless and incorruptible woman who tolerates his behavior out of love. Helen does, however, upbraid him with the words: “I haven’t got time to be neurotic.” No sooner has he begun to recover from his “Lost Weekend” than he contemplates killing Helen’s maid to get the key to the liquor cabinet. He has a few drinks and crawls into bed wondering, “Why did they make such a fuss?” No matter how it shocks or upsets you, you will find, after reading The Lost Weekend, that you have acquired a knowledge about the nature of desperate addiction. This is powerful stuff. You may need a stiff drink to finish it.

This made it to the cinema in 1945 (, with a screenplay by Charles Brackett and featuring Ray Milland and Jane Wyman.

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ISBN 978-0948238277

First published 1944

Charles Jackson

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