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A. A. Gill’s memoir begins in the dark of a dormitory with six strangers. He is an alcoholic, dying in the last-chance saloon – driven to dry out, not out of a desire to change but mainly through weariness. He tells the truth – as far as he can remember it – about drinking and about what it is like to be drunk. Pour Me is about the black-outs, the collapse, the despair: ‘Pockets were a constant source of surprise – a lamb chop, a votive candle, earrings, notes written on paper and ripped from books,’ and even, once, a pigeon. ‘Morning pockets,’ he says, ‘were like tiny crime scenes.’
He recalls the lost days, lost friends, failed marriages … But there was also ‘an optimum inebriation, a time when it was all golden, when the drink and the pleasure made sense and were brilliant’. Sobriety regained, there are painterly descriptions of people and places, unforgettable musings about childhood and family, art and religion, friendships and fatherhood; and, most movingly, the connections between his cooking, dyslexia and his missing brother.
Full of raw and unvarnished truths, exquisitely written throughout, Pour Me is about lost time and self-discovery. Lacerating, unflinching, uplifting, it is a classic about drunken abandon.