The Alcoholics, by Jim Thompson

The Joy of Mere Words

Alcoholics cvr

Jim Thompson’s 1953 novella covers a day in the life of a residential clinic for alcoholics – the El Healtho, which faces the Pacific to the south of Los Angeles.  It is run by psychiatrist Dr Pasteur Semelweiss Murphy, who unsurprisingly calls himself Dr Peter S Murphy.  Such silly names hint at broad comedy, or perhaps a satirical look at the drying-out industry, but the story has few laughs, though neither does it contain much of Thompson’s famed darkness of tone.  Nor does it justify the crime tag with which joint publishers Black Lizard and Vintage labelled this 1993 reissue.

It’s a stressful day for Murphy: El Healtho is under threat of closure because he is so dedicated to helping alcoholics that he has been running at a loss.  If he cannot come up with $15,000 that very day, El Healtho is finito.  The story opens with him having…

View original post 792 more words

This entry was posted in Philosophie. Bookmark the permalink.