In the spring of 1964, Joel Agee, not quite at home in his native New York (having spent much of his boyhood and youth behind the Iron Curtain), accidentally ingests a sizeable dose of LSD. All at once he is thrown from the precincts of bohemian normalcy into a whirl of bizarre synchronicities, symbols and omens. Nothing is ever the same again. Thirty years later a sobered Joel Agee sets himself the task of recounting his adventures. He begins as a memoirist but the truth he is seeking is not just that of memory. This book is a rescue mission—to find the ghosts of his past he must write his way into the house of his fear.
In the House of My Fear
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"This book is the crazy and brilliantly written map of his survival. Like his life, it is nonlinear . . . but it is also daring, beautiful, and deeply satisfying, as when we find ourselves in the presence of someone who tells the absolute truth, with exuberance, style, courage, and wisdom." —O, the Oprah Magazine
JOEL AGEE is a distinguished and award-winning translator of German authors. His previous memoir, Twelve Years, was published in 1981 to broad critical acclaim. He lives with his wife in Brooklyn.
“This book is the crazy and brilliantly written map of his survival. Like his life, it is nonlinear . . . but it is also daring, beautiful, and deeply satisfying, as when we find ourselves in the presence of someone who tells the absolute truth, with exuberance, style, courage, and wisdom.” —O, the Oprah Magazine
“A truly great book. This may even be that book of the Sixties we’ve always complained couldn’t be written because, well, words can’t really express it. He’s expressed all that, and how. I was moved and couldn’t put it down.” —Andrei Codrescu, NPR commentator and author of The Posthuman Dada Guide
“An unclassifiable work, hugely ambitious, exasperatingly self-conscious, but also, at its best, piercingly eloquent and intelligent. No ordinary memoir.” —Morris Dickstein, author of Dancing in the Dark
“Formally daring, ruthlessly honest, and written in limpid, expressive prose, [this book] explodes the clichés and conventions of most non-fiction.” —Siri Hustvedt, author of What I Loved
“So rich in incident, so vividly told, and often so buoyantly funny, Agee’s miraculous book soars beyond glib classification.” —Erik Wensberg, co-author of Modern American Usage
“This voluptuously rendered account of a life lived with… unbounded curiosity… is among the most wonderful memoirs I’ve ever read.” —Jamaica Kincaid, author of Lucy
“With lucid, poetic realism, this book chronicles a harrowing journey into… a hell from which many people never return.” —Peter Fenner, author of The Edge Of Certainty
“Here is the proverbial ‘fear and trembling’ become an instrument of exploration, reflection. Grateful readers will cherish this work. —Robert Coles, author of The Mind’s Fate