by Matt Rowland Hill
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Pub Date 7 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 14 Jul 2022
Random House UK, Vintage, Chatto & Windus
An extraordinarily brave memoir about faith, loss and addiction
'I tore through this brilliant, fearless book. From the first page to the last, it's funny, insightful and beautifully written' - Joe Dunthorne
Matt Rowland Hill grew up the son of a minister in an evangelical Christian church in south Wales and then south-east England. It was a childhood fraught with bitter family conflict and the fear of damnation.
After a devastating loss of faith in his late teens, Matt began his search for salvation elsewhere, turning to books before developing a growing relationship with alcohol and drugs. He became addicted to crack and heroin in his early twenties, an ordeal that stretched over a decade and culminated in a period of hopeless darkness.
Recklessly honest, and as funny as it is grave, Original Sins is an extraordinary memoir of faith, family, shame and addiction. But ultimately it is about looking for answers to life's big questions in all the wrong places, how hope can arrive in the most unexpected forms, and how the stories we tell might help us survive.
'A stunningly well-written, funny, heartrending and utterly gripping memoir about learning how to live with who we are. Read it. Read it now' - Nathan Filer
About the author:
Matt Rowland Hill was born in 1984 in Pontypridd, south Wales, and grew up in Wales and England. He now lives in London, and Original Sins is his first book.
'What a frightening, funny book this is, full of acute observations and shocking, memorable scenes. It adds up to an exceptional portrait of overlapping addictions to fundamentalist religion and narcotics, their ecstasies and miseries, and the ultimate failure of their different, desperate attempts to fill the same personal void' - Adam Foulds
'A courageous and often shocking book about the plague of addiction. Yet Original Sins is written with a wild, brilliant humour that offsets the horror. Gripping, hilarious and unforgettable, this is an inspirational survivor's story' - Gabriel Byrne
'A wildly original and gripping debut, told with humour and compassion, about what it means to survive' - Christie Watson
'Original Sins is a shattering portrait of addiction -- it's generously open, desperately honest and confronting. While it is heartbreaking, there is humour and compassion. It's a journey through darkness, against fear, to finding the light in oneself' - Catherine Cho
'Matt Rowland Hill has gone to depths of himself and emerged with something unique, graceful, piercingly smart, and devilishly funny. Many books have been written about addiction. Original Sins is unlike all of them, and stands among the very best' - Rob Doyle
'Matt Rowland Hill guides us to the edge of devastation, and doesn't flinch from the ache of addiction, family anguish and inward despair. But this is a book that's optimistic to the core, as honest about grief as it is about joy. I won't forget it' - Jessica J. Lee
'This book is a scorching, relentless, absolutely essential read about the roots of addiction and what it takes to save yourself. Hill writes like he has nothing to lose, and like he was born to create this harrowing, utterly transfixing, beautifully wrought portrait of a young man tortured by the twin horrors of family and religion. I couldn't put it down and when I finished reading, I realised I've been waiting for someone to tell the brutal truth about all this. To go all the way into the deepest dark of it, to break my heart in exactly this terrifying way. To take that darkness and make a brilliant, forceful work of literature from it is the holiest alchemy, and is itself Hill's masterful and unbelievably hard-won answer to the question: What will save us? Only art' - Merritt Tierce
'Hill's surviving his journey through religious fundamentalism into hardcore drug addiction is an accomplishment. His writing this memoir--unflinching, heart-rending, funny, insightful as hell--is a triumph. This is a phenomenal book' - Antoine Wilson
'I couldn't put ORIGINAL SINS down. Matt Rowland Hill probes, mercilessly, the ways extreme religion and extreme addiction intersect. But there is no simplistic placing-of-blame here. At the center of this stunning memoir is a beautiful, painful irony: though the hellfire & brimstone Christianity of his childhood undoes him, it's his adult encounter with authentic Christianity- love, grace, forgiveness, radical surrender - that also begins to rescue him. What most impressed me about this addiction memoir was its staunch refusal to become an addiction memoir, with the pat journey-into-the-abyss-and-out-again trajectory. Instead, Hill allows his story to be precisely what all of our stories are: a series of days, and hours, and moments in which we are given, over and over, the profound responsibility to choose life over death.' - Jamie Quatro
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 7 members
The author did an amazing job writing this book. Quite poignant, funny and deep in parts. It questions what we are made of and and how to accept it. The author goes through a journey of faith and addiction to spiral down deep only to emerge out of it with the answer to these questions above. Amazing book!
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