Aside from his literary mastery, there are plenty of other traits of Ernest Hemingway to admire. This can go from his boxing abilities to his liver’s mythical resistance to liquor. The writer’s parties were notorious for the amounts of booze available for guests. The author lived great and not so great moments next to the bottle. When he won the Nobel Prize in 1954, some reporters claimed he wasn’t able to attend the ceremony given his substance abuse problems.
Literature is full of tough guys in the constant company of a drink. It’s no to say that they could only write under the influence of alcohol more than the fact they enjoyed drinking. It’s no coincidence how the English language has over 3 thousand words for drunkenness, since you need as many synonyms as possible to describe the different people we see in this state in every town and city around the world. There will always be someone who has a romantic reaction towards the bottle, which is why that charming character pops up in plenty of books and stories.
The Subterraneans by Jack Kerouac (1958)
We can always expect from the Beat generation youths, tired of the system, who only want to live their lives under the effects of alcohol, music, drugs, and sex. Kerouac’s novella is a mere tale of the times he lived in.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson (1971)
Written by another famous writer with an even more famous liver, this novel can only be described as one epic bender across the United States. The protagonists manage to live it large on their way to Las Vegas.
Women by Charles Bukowski (1978)
No boozy list on intoxication can be without this author. The protagonist of this book, Henry Chinasky, is an old drunkard who only likes getting into dead-end romantic entanglements he’s only able to leave by finding his next woman.
Almost Transparent Blue by Ryū Murakami (1976)
This novel is Murakami’s rock star and there’s no question why. This is a book about the insatiable thirst for drugs and sex, where the future is only an excuse to continue the wild self-destructive binge.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (2015)
We’ve all played the game of making up stories of the people on the street. This novel begins with that premise until the protagonist realizes something’s not quite right. However, this proves a difficult task considering how the character is neck deep in alcohol dependency.
Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis (1985)
This novel is full of characters that only give us the choice of falling in love with them or hating their guts from the moment they show up in the plot. Anyone who read this before their twenties probably felt the urge to leave their house to spend all their cash on drugs and booze.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams (1955)
Okay, so this one is a play rather than a novel. However, it’s become such an iconic piece of writing that we’ll let it slide. It revolves around a former football player who’s drowning his sorrows and shattered dreams of greatness in a bottle.
Perchance to Dream by Raymond Chandler (1939)
The way alcoholic detective Philip Marlow solves a case of blackmail is a work of art. But what he doesn’t know is that extortion is just the beginning of a string of events he’ll need to solve while under the influence.
These are all stories where alcohol plays a role in both the protagonist’s story as well as in the plot itself. What we can all learn from these tales is that drunkenness and the morning after can take us on a wild ride to adventure and other incredible experiences.
There are plenty of stories of the everyday in books. Here are five that show you why your love is not magic but just ordinary. There's also a famous poem that most of us have been getting wrong all this time.
Translated by María Suárez Ruiz