The Empty Room

by Lauren B. Davis

HarperCollins Canada | May 21, 2013 | Kobo Edition (eBook)

The Empty Room is rated 4.75 out of 5 by 8.

Colleen Kerrigan wakes up sick and bruised, with no clear memory of the night before. It’s Monday morning, and she is late for work again. She’s shocked to see the near-empty vodka bottle on her kitchen counter. It was full at noon yesterday; surely she didn’t drink that much last night? As she struggles out the door, she fights the urge to have a sip, just to take the edge off. But no, she’s not going to drink today.

But this is the day Colleen’s demons come for her. A very bad day spirals into night as a series of flashbacks take the reader through Colleen’s past-moments of friendship and loss, fragments of peace and possibility. The single constant is the bottle, always close by, Colleen’s worst enemy and her only friend.

In this unforgettable work, acclaimed novelist Lauren B. Davis has created as searing, raw and powerful a portrayal of the chaos and pain of alcoholism as we have encountered in fiction. Told with compassion, insight and an irresistible gallows humour, The Empty Room takes us to the depths of addiction, only to find a revelation at its heart: the importance and grace of one person reaching out to another.

Praise for The Empty Room

“Unflinching and unsentimental, The Empty Room charts a day from hell in the life of Colleen Kerrigan, alone, nearly 50, and spiralling into yet another alcoholic binge. It is a credit to the brilliance and humanity of novelist Lauren B. Davis that, even in this nightmare, we find utter truth, wicked humour and just enough hope to keep on reading.” -Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes

“This is a raw, exciting book-alcoholism from deep inside the jaws of death and denial. To call it ‘honest’ is a disservice: it is scalding.” -Bharati Mukherjee, author of Desirable Daughters and Miss New India

“In The Empty Room, Lauren B. Davis has given us an honest, brave account of self-destruction, one that harrowingly reminds us that recovery from the abyss of alcoholism is never easy, but eloquently hints at what is possible when the self-deception and denial end.” -Linden McIntyre, author of The Bishop's Man and Why Men Lie

“Soaked in alcoholism and addiction, this story plumbs the bottomless human genius for self-deception and our singular talent for wandering into hellholes of our own design. Lauren B. Davis writes deftly, never averting her gaze-and never letting go of the fact that threads of grace lie always within our grasp.” -Alan Cumyn, author of The Famished Lover and The Sojourn

“The Empty Room is a rare act of courage-every page a brilliant, defiant examination of desire, loss, sorrow, triumph and grace. My heart will not soon forget this book.” -Ami McKay, author of The Birth House and The Virgin Cure

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: May 21, 2013

Publisher: HarperCollins Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1443418315

ISBN - 13: 9781443418317

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Book I finished this book just after hearing about the passing of Robin Williams. I can't help but draw parallels between the sadness and misery of severe depression and that of severe addiction. The two are so incredibly related. The feeling of powerlessness is completely overwhelming and sometimes, the only solution seems to be to kill the misery. Unfortunately for some, the death of misery is also the death of a life. This book captures that kind of searing misery, the supreme despair that is found at the bottom of a bottle and heavily laden with demons and denial. It is said that an addict of any stripe needs to find their bottom before they can crawl out of the pits of their personal hell. Ms. Davis does an incredible job of taking us on the last crawl to the bottom for Colleen, the protagonist of this book. I suspect this is largely due to her own experience at the bottom. For anyone whose ever struggled with alcohol or has been related to someone whose struggled with alcohol, they'll understand the pain of this book and will likely find it as incredible and disturbing as I did!!!
Date published: 2014-08-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Empty Room The Empty Room is a beautifully written novel about addiction and hope. The portrayal of Colleen's descent was so visual for me. So much can go wrong in such a short time. It was hard to put the book down as I wanted to see how it would end. There was a connection to Toronto via the different landmarks weaved into the story. A book definitely worth reading.
Date published: 2014-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Emotional Page Turner With one of the great opening lines in recent fiction, “Colleen Kerrigan woke up wondering why she was chewing on a dirty old sock,” The Empty Room takes readers on a harrowing journey into the warped consciousness of an addict. The novel succeeds beautifully in doing that thing which only novels can do—give us an unfiltered access into the black box that is the consciousness of another person and an understanding of what it feels like to be another human being. I consumed The Empty Room in two sittings. And when I finally finished it, I felt like I was holding my breath for the entire time. I was moved by the rawness of the prose, enraged by Colleen and her inability to see her actions clearly. I suppose that is what addiction does to people—makes them lose perspective. And finally, I was really inspired by the ending. The Empty Room in the hands of a lesser novelist could’ve easily been a dreary “addiction” novel but Lauren Davis’ deft handling makes the novel a moving, at times funny, emotional page turner.
Date published: 2013-08-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Powerful Read! Story Description: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd|May 9, 2013|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-1-44341-829-4 A raw and ground breaking journey to the depths of addiction, from the author of ‘Our Daily Bread’, long-listed for the Giller Prize. Colleen Kerrigan wakes up sick and bruised, with no clear memory of the night before. It’s Monday morning and she is late for work again. She’s shocked to see the near-empty vodka bottle on her kitchen counter. It was full at noon yesterday, surely she didn’t drink that much last night? As she struggles out the door, she fights the urge to have a sip just to take the edge off. But no, she’s not going to drink today. But this is the day Colleen’s demons come for her. A very bad day spirals into night as a series of flashbacks take the reader through Colleen’s past moments of friendship and loss, fragments of peace and possibility. The single constant is the bottle, always close by, Colleen’s worst enemy and her only friend. In this unforgettable work, acclaimed novelist Lauren B. Davis has created as searing, raw and powerful a portrayal of the chaos and pain of alcoholism as we have encountered in fiction. Told with compassion, insight and an irresistible gallows humour, The Empty Room takes us to the depths of addiction, only to find a revelation at its heart: the importance and grace of one person reaching out to another. My Review: Colleen Kerrigan is a severe alcoholic. Her entire world is centered around booze and she gets herself absolutely plastered to the point of vomiting. She drinks mostly vodka but will imbibe in wine and other spirits as well. Colleen worked at the university and kept bottles in the bottom drawer of her desk so she could grab a few “sips” throughout her work day. Due to her excessive drinking she was constantly late for work and lately had been forgetting to complete some of her job assignments as well. She didn’t have a lot of friends but those she did have were not alcoholics like her. Colleen’s mother was still alive and living in an assisted care home. The relationship between Colleen and her mother was riddled with tension and mistrust. She grew up watching her parents drink so she came by it honestly. Her mother was constantly threatening suicide and spent a lot of time telling Colleen what a loser her father was. The story takes place over one day of Colleen’ life – she wakes up on a Monday morning extremely sick, bruised, and with no memory of what took place the night before. As she stumbles around she is very surprised to see an almost empty vodka bottle on her kitchen counter and can’t believe she would drink that much in one night. She is going to be late for work again and as she gets ready she promises herself that she will NOT drink today. However, little does Colleen know that today is the day that her life choices will finally catch up to her. As a very, very bad day spirals out of control and into the night, a series of flashbacks takes us through Colleen’s past. The one and only constant through it all is the booze, for it is truly her only friend and worst enemy. The Empty Room is a gripping story and reads like a memoir. I would highly recommend this book for book clubs, it would make for some very interesting conversation considering what happens to one’s life when one chooses to allow an outside force to take over their entire life.
Date published: 2013-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great literary fiction and a real page turner I saw an interview of this author on The Agenda, with Steve Paikin. Davis came across so well I had to buy The Empty Room. It didn't disappoint - it is a page turner that is exceptionally well written, with a credible central character and a storyline that kept me glued to the page. While the subject of addiction is a tough one, it was well handled and the ending was very satisfying. Definitely suggesting it as one of the next reads for my bookclub.
Date published: 2013-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating novel - a real page turner I was at a excellent reading Lauren B. Davis did in Toronto last week and bought her novel The Empty Room. It captured my interest from the first page and I couldn't put it down. Brilliant writing and great character development. I really cared about the main character, Colleen Kerrigan, and the impact of alcohol on her life. It's quite clear that Davis knows this subject matter well, and has done an outstanding job of making us believe exactly what Colleen is going through. I loved the ending, and felt it held together perfrectly well. I'm sure this story will stay with me for a long time.
Date published: 2013-06-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great character and fabulous writing - couldn't put it down Colleen Kerrigan is one of the best developed characters I've come across in literature. While we see her struggle with her addiction, we really root for her. I was hooked from the opening and couldn't put it down. It will stay with me for a long time.
Date published: 2013-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Review of The Empty Room by Lauren B. Davis A poignant study of how a middle aged woman's inner daemons threaten to alienate her from healthy kindred spirits, Davis's character Colleen Kerrigan gives us a graphic view (bordering on voyeuristic) into an alcoholic's downward spiral. We are drawn into her empty room with vivid descriptions of the sensations associated with hitting rock bottom ...vile odors, deranged perception of time and space, physical and emotional anguish. Plagued by the tug of war between the daemons in her mind and the angels whispering psalms in her ear, only Divine intervention can save the once beautiful and vibrant Colleen. Whether or not to take another vodka shot, or a shot at redemption is her choice. This is a must-read for anyone who is directly or indirectly affected by the disease of addiction.
Date published: 2013-05-21

– More About This Product –

The Empty Room

by Lauren B. Davis

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: May 21, 2013

Publisher: HarperCollins Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1443418315

ISBN - 13: 9781443418317

From the Publisher

Colleen Kerrigan wakes up sick and bruised, with no clear memory of the night before. It’s Monday morning, and she is late for work again. She’s shocked to see the near-empty vodka bottle on her kitchen counter. It was full at noon yesterday; surely she didn’t drink that much last night? As she struggles out the door, she fights the urge to have a sip, just to take the edge off. But no, she’s not going to drink today.

But this is the day Colleen’s demons come for her. A very bad day spirals into night as a series of flashbacks take the reader through Colleen’s past-moments of friendship and loss, fragments of peace and possibility. The single constant is the bottle, always close by, Colleen’s worst enemy and her only friend.

In this unforgettable work, acclaimed novelist Lauren B. Davis has created as searing, raw and powerful a portrayal of the chaos and pain of alcoholism as we have encountered in fiction. Told with compassion, insight and an irresistible gallows humour, The Empty Room takes us to the depths of addiction, only to find a revelation at its heart: the importance and grace of one person reaching out to another.

Praise for The Empty Room

“Unflinching and unsentimental, The Empty Room charts a day from hell in the life of Colleen Kerrigan, alone, nearly 50, and spiralling into yet another alcoholic binge. It is a credit to the brilliance and humanity of novelist Lauren B. Davis that, even in this nightmare, we find utter truth, wicked humour and just enough hope to keep on reading.” -Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes

“This is a raw, exciting book-alcoholism from deep inside the jaws of death and denial. To call it ‘honest’ is a disservice: it is scalding.” -Bharati Mukherjee, author of Desirable Daughters and Miss New India

“In The Empty Room, Lauren B. Davis has given us an honest, brave account of self-destruction, one that harrowingly reminds us that recovery from the abyss of alcoholism is never easy, but eloquently hints at what is possible when the self-deception and denial end.” -Linden McIntyre, author of The Bishop's Man and Why Men Lie

“Soaked in alcoholism and addiction, this story plumbs the bottomless human genius for self-deception and our singular talent for wandering into hellholes of our own design. Lauren B. Davis writes deftly, never averting her gaze-and never letting go of the fact that threads of grace lie always within our grasp.” -Alan Cumyn, author of The Famished Lover and The Sojourn

“The Empty Room is a rare act of courage-every page a brilliant, defiant examination of desire, loss, sorrow, triumph and grace. My heart will not soon forget this book.” -Ami McKay, author of The Birth House and The Virgin Cure

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