Fifteen years ago, John Sutherland, then Lord Northcliffe Professor of English Literature at University College London, described in a bracingly honest confession called Last Drink to LA how he had woken up after a heavy night of drinking to find himself semi-naked on a bed with his hand brushing the groin of an African-American man whose penis had evidently been amputated. Sutherland, an alcoholic, had hit what they call ‘rock bottom’. He has now been sober for three decades, during which he has written dozens and dozens of books. His latest, Stars, Cars and Crystal Meth, tells the story of his adopted son Jack’s own battle with addiction (in this case, sex, drugs and alcohol) and subsequent descent to the depths.
Except that it is Jack Sutherland, not John, who has written Stars, Cars and Crystal Meth. Or rather, Jack, who is now in his forties, talked to John and John transcribed his words into hard-boiled, bullet-like sentences that give the impression that Jack is more in control of his own