Anthony Breznican's Reviews > The Night of the Gun

The Night of the Gun by David Carr
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's review
Aug 22, 2008

it was amazing
Recommended for: crime-story fans, journalists, troubled souls
Read in August, 2008

"You can't know the whole truth," says David Carr. "But if there is one, it lies in the space between people."

Something haunting in that line, and relevant to anyone regardless of whether they share Carr's story of self-destruction and recovery.

This reformed thug, drug addict and spiraling loser pulls out of the dive at a critical moment, rescues his infant twin daughters (or is it the other way around?) and rebuilds a shattered career to become a columnist for The New York Times.

It's a harrowing story -- part crime saga, part family heartwarmer -- but the remarkable thing is how he did it. Not trusting his own memory of events, Carr retraced the steps from That Guy to This Guy, using his skills as a journalist to interview his old friends, junkies, dealers, lawyers, counselors, to connect those dots.

What makes The Night of the Gun transcend the everyday memoir is his exploration of the vagaries of memory -- who remembers what, and when. Stories retold become mythologized, sins he can't bear to see forgiven absolve themselves through forgetfulness, and the question of who pulled that gun on whom becomes more existential than whodunnit.

Carr shows that memory becomes a biased informant, whispering that things weren't so bad, not our fault, and yet the truth can be found for those daring enough to confront it. As a fellow reporter, I found this book especially compelling. An excellent, riveting read.
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