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Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Leaving Las Vegas

Dead Beat is being haunted - inexplicably - for some reason the ghost of John O'Brien and his book Leaving Las Vegas have returned to haunt him.

The book for those who have never read it is harrowing. Ben, an alcoholic, moves to Las Vegas (because the bars never close there) to drink himself to death. We are witness to the minutiae of his disintegration: the nausea, the blackouts, the immense difficulty of eating the smallest amount of food.

O'Brien, an alcoholic too, took his life two weeks after learning that his book was to be made into a film.

The book is not without its flaws but is compulsive in engaging us in Ben's death. But it is O'Brien I keep coming back to - he was only 33 when he shot himself - the novel his Dad said was his suicide note.

And so the writer chronicling his own disintegration as a work of fiction...

O' Brien's book survives. Without warning it has returned to haunt Dead Beat leaving him deeply disturbed, troubled.

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