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First published in America, this is the account of Stringer's life and career, starting from his first piece of writing, produced under a station platform where he slept. A book rich with small acts of kindness, humour and heroism, alongside the expected violence of life on the street. There is always room for one more diamond in the rough.
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Curled deep in his burrow in a Grand Central Station crawlspace, Lee Stringer--ragged, homeless, addicted to crack--is digging around for something he can use to clean his crack pipe. Finally his fingers latch around "some sort of smooth straight stick": a pencil. In the days that follow, he carries it with him wherever he goes. "So I have this pencil with me all the time and then one day I'm sitting there in my hole with nothing to smoke and nothing to do and I pull the pencil out just to look at the film of residue stuck to the sides--you do that sort of thing when you don't have any shit--and it dawns on me that it's a pencil. I mean it's got a lead in it and all, and you can write with the thing." And so that's what he does. "Pretty soon I forget all about hustling and getting a hit. I'm scribbling like a maniac; heart pumping, adrenaline rushing, hands trembling. I'm so excited I almost crap on myself. It's just like taking a hit."
Grand Central Winter is the tale of Stringer's twin addictions--writing and crack--and the lengths he went to in order to satisfy each. But Stringer dwells on neither his descent into hell nor the long journey back. Instead, he paints a nuanced portrait of street life itself, its pleasures as well as its terrors. Hustlers, hookers, dealers and addicts come to life in a series of vignettes that are tough, unsentimental, but compassionate to the core. There's honest rage to be found in Grand Central Winter, but precious little political posturing. "Policy is never the real issue," he writes in "Dear Homey," his advice column for New York's homeless paper, Street News. "The real issue is the hearts of men."Review:
bestselling author of "The Intruder" and "Slow Motion Riot"
If Lee Stringer had merely been to hell and back, it would be admirable....But what he's done is for more impressive: He's made the trip with style. He writes with clear-eyed compassion, savage grace, and wrenching honesty. Oh yes, he's also very funny.
"The New York Times Book Review"
The prose lengthens out into easy strides, the storytelling is sound and the characters fresh.
Stringer's crisp detail, straight no-chaser wit, and uncompromising frankness are as bracing as his subject is significant.
"The New York Times Book Review"
Stringer gives us the long view of New York's underbelly, born of pain but delivered with style and heart.
[A] candid, sad, yet upbeat memoir....Stringer possesses a sharp eye for the street and the rich, sagacious talent of a storyteller.
The book gives full humanity to its troubled characters and homes in on the motivations, strategies, and relationships of people surviving on the streets....Highly recommended.
"New York Daily News"
Stringer weaves his gritty scenes with fluid commentary on how things work and what they mean, in language that combines the punch of the streets with the ideas of a careful thinker.
"The New York Times Book Review"The prose lengthens out into easy strides, the storytelling is sound and the characters fresh.
"Booklist"Stringer's crisp detail, straight no-chaser wit, and uncompromising frankness are as bracing as his subject is significant.
"The New York Times Book Review"Stringer gives us the long view of New York's underbelly, born of pain but delivered with style and heart.
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Book Description Headline Review, 1999. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0747273634