Written with the passion of an obsessive, Nicotine addresses a life of addiction, from the epiphany of the first drag to the perennial last last cigarette. Reflecting on his experiences as a smoker from a young age, Gregor Hens investigates the irreversible effects of nicotine on thought and patterns of behaviours. He extends the conversation with other smokers to meditations on Mark Twain and Italo Svevo, the nature of habit, the validity of hypnosis, and the most insignificant city in the United States, where he lived for far too long. With comic insight and meticulous precision, Hens deconstructs every facet of the dependency and offers a brilliant disquisition on the psychopathology of addiction.

Introduction by Will Self, Translated by Jen Calleja.

‘Every cigarette I’ve ever smoked now seems, in retrospect, like little more than preparation for this remarkable essay – though nothing in me could have anticipated its exquisitely surprising brilliance, the precision and play of its intellect. It’s about smoking, sure, but it’s also a luminous and nuanced exploration of how we’re constituted by our obsessions, how our memories arrange themselves inside of us, and how – or if – we control our own lives.’ – Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams

Gregor Hens, born in 1965, is a German writer and translator. He has notably translated Will Self, Jonathan Lethem and George Packer into German.

Nicotine by Gregor Hens
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