Idiot Wind: A Memoir (Paperback)Peter Kaldheim (author)
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In 1987 a massive snowstorm hits New York as Peter Kaldheim flees the city, owing drug debts to a dealer who is no stranger to casual violence. As he makes his way across America in search of a new life, the harsh reality of vagrancy forces him to face up to his past, from his time in Rikers prison, to relationships lost and lamented.
Kaldheim hikes and buses through an America rarely seen, and his encounters with a disparate collection of characters instils in him a new empathy and wisdom, as he journeys on a road less travelled.
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Number of pages: 352
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm
Idiot Wind is an utterly compelling memoir - the story of a life squandered and ultimately reclaimed. For all his self-confessed debauchery, Kaldheim is an acute observer and a great storyteller: the chapters on his nights as a homeless coke dealer in downtown Manhattan in the eighties are harrowing and hilarious. And his descriptions of his subsequent hobo peregrinations are rich in gritty detail. Kaldheim channels Orwell, Kerouac and Frederick Exley as he stumbles across America and finally finds his unlikely way to redemption -- JAY McINERNEY
Idiot Wind gives the definitive, harrowing, and often grimly hilarious answer to the question of what happens to a person when he "drops off the map", his old life no longer viable and his new life nowhere in sight -- WALTER KIRN
The smart, easygoing voice, personal honesty, and downright humility I found in Peter Kaldheim's memoir, Idiot Wind, grabbed me from the very first page, and I ended up never wanting it to end -- DONALD RAY POLLOCK
Although it is a memoir set in the Reagan years, the milieu still feels so contemporary . . . For those vulnerable and stranded in the US, certain things appear to have remained unchanged * * Guardian * *
Peter Kaldheim's honesty and optimistic persistence in every circumstance make for a powerful and compelling narrative . . . Idiot Wind provides a unique and important insight into homelessness in the US and is engaging from start to finish * * The Skinny * *
Idiot Wind recounts Kaldheim's very human efforts to swim to shore with compassion and gratitude * * NPR * *
A very readable, even superior, addition to the addiction memoir genre * * Library Journal * *
Compelling and gutsy * * Brinkwire * *
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