Book Fight!

Tough love for literature

Episode 63: Michael W. Clune, White Out


We welcome a special guest, Leslie Jamison (author of The Empathy Exams) to discuss Clune’s memoir of heroin addiction. While a graduate student in literature at Johns Hopkins University, Clune was also a daily heroin user, a life he chronicles in dreamy, often beautiful prose. We also talk about addiction memoirs more generally, Jamison’s approach to essay-writing, pie shakes, Iowa City, and Haley Joel Osment.


As always, you can stream the episode right here on our site, or download the mp3 file. Or find us in the iTunes store, where you can catch up on previous installments and subscribe (for free!) to never miss another one. We welcome your feedback on what we talked about. You can email us, hit us up on Twitter, or just leave a comment here on the site.

If you’d like to support the show, you can donate by clicking on the little piggy back on the right (in exchange for your donation, we’ll write you a blurb and read it on the show). You can also support us by supporting our sponsor, Powell’s Books. Just click on any of the Powell’s links around our page–including the cover image of Clune’s book, above–and anything you buy from the Powell’s store will send a little money back our way.

Thanks for listening!

Stream the episode:

Download Episode 63 (right-click, save-as)


Author: mikeingram25

writer, editor

7 thoughts on “Episode 63: Michael W. Clune, White Out

  1. The conversation was consistently engaging so I enjoyed this longer than usual episode.

    I’ve also long enjoyed that your break music is the same theme used by the Video Vigilante in every video where he ambushes some poor schlub with a hooker.

  2. Thanks, Chris — I thought Leslie was a great a guest, so she helped to offset our own annoying tics.

    I had never heard of the Video Vigilante before. This is a whole new thing for me.

  3. Very good episode. Have either of you read “HHhH” by Laurent Binet? The whole discussion about an author interjecting himself into the narrative made me think of it. At times, I found Binet’s style a bit distracting but it also added an interesting layer. In some ways, it reminded me of W.G. Sebald.

  4. Hey guys. Another terrific episode. Engaging the whole time with Leslie Jamison an awesome guest. Thank you for being consistent with your output on the podcast and the passion you convey about the books you read.

  5. You guys always seem to raise your game when you get an intelligent guest on. Good stuff.

  6. Thanks, everybody! Paul, I haven’t read that book, but I’m adding it to my list. I’ve actually been looking for some more unconventional narratives lately (particularly memoirs, but fiction will do, too).

  7. Pingback: How to be a weird loner on your flight to AWP | Book Fight!

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