Essays | Amy Long | September 2019
208 pgs


* Release Date September 10, 2019 *

* Winner of the 2018 CSU Poetry Center Essay Collection Competition, Selected by Brian Blanchfield *

Fearless, haunting, and transcendently honest, Amy Long’s Codependence is a memoir of pain and its paradoxes. Long documents her coming of age as an ambitious young writer plagued by chronic headache and entangled with a boyfriend’s opioid addiction. The essays that result explore the complexities of care, hurt, and hope with elegance and precision. Long exposes her every nerve, crafting a story both intimate and deeply relevant. An essential book for the opioid era.

Praise for Codependence:

This gutsy memoirist of opioid addiction and pain management has not prevailed over her predicament. The electric prose of this book is not written from that vantage. Nor, as she persuasively demonstrates, is there necessarily a triumphant position to which to aspire, when a case is as precarious and enveloping as hers. The art of the essay and the practice of life writing benefit from Amy Long's decisions on every page to present a narrator who is as self-excusing, furtive, and volatile as she is candid, searching, and bracingly expert in our country’s labyrinthine industry of relief and the hurt of protracted hope. Codependence gives you the room key and invites you to inspect the parameters of Purgatory.  

—Brian Blanchfield

Against all the easy recovery narratives, against all the Opioid Crisis Hand-Wringing, stands this heart-stopping book—ferociously felt, powerfully written, absolutely persuasive in its extraordinary nakedness, bravery, and gallows humor. Brilliant. 

—David Shields

Vividly drawn, disarmingly forthright, and darkly seductive, Amy Long’s Codependence redefines what it means to take drugs, fall in love, and belong to a family. Exhibiting a mastery of narrative form and structure while documenting one woman’s attempt to articulate her pain—as well as the lengths she will go to eradicate it—this book represents a stunning and singular debut. 

—Matthew Vollmer

Amy Long holds an MFA in creative writing from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in women’s studies from the University of Florida. She serves as a contributing editor at the drug history blog Points.

More Information:

Amy Long website

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