Scream: A Memoir of Glamour and Dysfunction
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Date: August 2016
Duration: 7 hours 56 minutes
In this darkly funny, surprising memoir, the original “Lit Girl” and author of the era-defining Slaves of New York considers her life in and outside of New York City, from the heyday of the 1980s to her life today in a tiny upstate town that proves that fact is always stranger than fiction.
With the publication of her acclaimed short story collection Slaves of New York, Tama Janowitz was crowned the Lit Girl of New York. Celebrated in rarified literary and social circles, she was hailed, alongside Mark Lindquist, Bret Easton Ellis, and Jay McInerney, as one of the original “Brat Pack” writers—a wave of young minimalist authors whose wry, urbane sensibility captured the zeitgeist of the time, propelling them to the forefront of American culture.
In Scream, her first memoir, Janowitz recalls the quirky literary world of young downtown New York in the go-go 1980s and reflects on her life today far away from the city indelible to her work. As in Slaves of New York and A Certain Age, Janowitz turns a critical eye towards life, this time her own, recounting the vagaries of fame and fortune as a writer devoted to her art. Here, too, is Tama as daughter, wife, and mother, wrestling with aging, loss, and angst, both adolescent (her daughter) and middle aged (her own) as she cares for a mother plagued by dementia, battles a brother who questions her choices, and endures the criticism of a surly teenager.
Filled with a very real, very personal cast of characters, Scream is an intimate, scorching memoir rife with the humor, insight, and experience of a writer with a surgeon’s eye for detail, and a skill for cutting straight to the strangest parts of life.
Forever the misfit, tama janowitz feels like screaming
In her first book since 2005, Tama Janowitz examines the events that led her through the 1980s to where she is now: (almost) broke, (almost) divorced, attempting to raise a daughter, taking care of her ailing mother, peacemaking with her eccentric father, and learning the strange mythos and culture of upstate New York, which, while only a few hours north of New York City, might as well be on a different planet.
Once declared New York City’s literary “It Girl”—hanging out with the likes of Andy Warhol and Lou Reed, partying at Studio 54, and coming of age alongside contemporary, edgy writers who together with Tama were deemed the “Literary Brat Pack”—she has always been an original. She is a writer with many books under her belt, and her groundbreaking short-story collection Slaves of New York ushered forward a style that became emblematic of a New York City packed with sex, drugs, and urban grittiness. Tama left the glamour and glitz of the 1980s behind to be a wife, mother, and poodle wrangler—only to find herself still searching for a sense of purpose.
Her traversal across memory, time, and place in Scream—moving frantically back and forth between the city and the country, the eighties and today—to uncover that purpose is a testament to her precision and capacity for soul searching. Crafted with humor, irony, and self-awareness, Scream is Tama Janowitz at her most candid and straightforward as she weaves memoir with her acutely unconventional voice.