‘A series of fleeting images and memories … united by the high intelligence and beauty of Hardwick’s prose.’ - Sally Rooney 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.
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