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A Memoir

Joshua Cody (Author)


A searing memoir about devastating illness, creativity, sex and drugs, and thirty-something life in New York.

Joshua Cody, a brilliant young composer, was about to receive his PhD when he was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. Facing a bone-marrow transplant and full radiation, he charts his struggle: the fury, the tendency to self-destruction, and the ruthless grasping for life and sensation; the encounter with a strange woman on Canal Street that leads to sex at his apartment; the detailed morphine fantasy complete with a bride called Valentina while, in reality, hospital staff are pinning him to his bed. Moving effortlessly between references to Don Giovanni and the Rolling Stones, Ezra Pound and Buffalo Bill, and facsimiles of his own diaries and hospital notebooks, [sic] is a cross between Susan Sontag's Illness as Metaphor and Jay McInerny's Bright Lights, Big City: a mesmerizing, hallucinatory glimpse into a young man's battle against disease and a celebration of art, language, music, and life.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • October 2011
  • ISBN 978-0-393-08106-0
  • 5.8 × 8.6 in / 272 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Other Formats

  1. Book Cover[sic]: A Memoir



Endorsements & Reviews

“[A] sprightly, manic cancer memoir… The resulting G-force of sex and death and insanity – and also, improbably, of music and math and modernist poetry – is the only evidence you need that for all its seeming formlessness, [sic] is in fact as artfully constructed as a Tarantino film.” — New York Times Book Review

“To open this book is to engage with a spirit at once endlessly curious, genuinely funny, fiercely intelligent, and wonderfully perverse. Reading it I kept having the uncanny sense that I was holding something alive in my hands, something with a pulse. This book is a true gift, a wild ride, and a tour-de-force performance. Welcome to the new face of memoir.” — Nick Flynn

“In [sic], the young classical composer Joshua Cody outstrips the weepy conventions of a cancer memoir by mixing aggressive, intelligent prose with shocking confessions, like the time he had cocaine-fueled sex with a stranger after chemotherapy.” — Stephen Heyman, T Magazine

“...powerfully provocative memoir about death and drugs that is likely to attract a lot of attention... A celebration of the senses, the arts and life itself, within what the author terms "a story about God and vomiting."” — Kirkus

“...this dazzling memoir recalls David Foster Wallace’s obsessive observations and evokes W. G. Sebald’s stream-of-consciousness curiosity (complete with photographs and facsimiles). Cody manages to turn what might have resulted in neurotic chaos into an artful and funny portrait of a man who remains courageous in the face of death; is wholly in love with life, art, and language; and breathes fresh spirit into the memoir genre.” — Booklist

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