The June 26th publication by Random House of Steven Martin’s beautiful and harrowing OPIUM FIEND: A 21st Century Slave to a 19th Century Addition is just around the corner, and the memoir is already garnering some great praise.
Steven Martin’s fascinating memoir runs so much deeper than the standard literature about drugs. Whereas most writers never move beyond obsessive descriptions of physical effects, Martin’s true interests are cultural and intellectual: he connects the urge of the drug addict with the compulsion of the art collector. By the end of this book you’ll have a new sympathy for both kinds of fiend.
– Peter Hessler, author of RIVER TOWN and COUNTRY DRIVING
Opium Fiend is the most engaging memoir of the year. What begins as Steven Martin’s search into the lost history of opium—whose trade was once as consequential to empires as oil is today—becomes a harrowing exploration of the liberating, enlightening and enslaving ecstasies of a forbidden pipe. It’s not so much a tale of addiction, but of self-immolating obsession. While crafting a spellbinding, literary read, Martin never loses focus of his original aim. Opium Fiend stands as a fascinating, never-before told social history of the poppy blossom’s central place in the rise and fall of nations. As addictive as its subject matter, Opium Fiend should come with a warning that it may lead to lost nights and weekends of intensely pleasurable reading.
– Evan Wright, New York Times best-selling author of GENERATION KILL and HELLA NATION