Sally Rooney: 'A series of fleeting images and memories ... united by the high intelligence and beauty of Hardwick's prose.' Rediscover a lost American classic: Sleepless Nights, a kaleidoscopic scrapbook of one woman's memories, here reissued with a new introduction by Eimear McBride.
I am alone here in New York, no longer a we ... First published in 1979, Sleepless Nights is a unique collage of fiction and memoir, letters and essays, portraits and dreams.
It is more than the story of a life: it is Elizabeth Hardwick's experience of womanhood in the twentieth century.
Escaping her childhood home of Kentucky, the narrator arrives at a bohemian hotel in Manhattan filled with 'drunks, actors, gamblers ... love and alcohol and clothes on the floor.' Here begin the erotic affairs and dinner parties, the abortions and heartbreaks, the friendships and 'people I have buried'.
Here are luminous sketches of characters she has met that illuminate the era's racism, sexism, and poverty.
Above all, here is prose blurring into poetry, language to lose - and perhaps to find - yourself in. Society tries to write these lives before they are lived.
It does not always succeed.