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