Dr. Alan Severance wakes up one morning confined to a familiar hospital with no recollection of his arrival. Thus starts Recovery, Berryman's semi-autobiographical tale of "the disease called ‘alcoholism.'" This time, determined to free himself from his disease, Dr. Severance plunges into a rigorous plan for recovery. Following the clinic's advice he confesses his humiliations, defeats, and delusions in an attempt to purge himself and achieve normality. The novel is elevated above the ordinary by Berryman's sharp wit and penetrating intelligence. An alcoholic and critically acclaimed Pulitzer prize-winning poet, Berryman jumped to his death off the Washington Avenue Bridge in 1972 in Minneapolis, abandoning his own attempts to overcome alcoholism as well as the yet unfinished Recovery.
The resulting novel is a powerful portrayal of Severance's eternally indefinite attempts to free himself from the grip of addiction.
"What he needed for his art had been supplied by his own person, by his mind, his wit."—Saul Bellow "Recovery is a brilliantly written, masterful portrayal of man's battle with himself for survival."—Chicago Sun-Times "What distinguishes Recovery from many fine and powerful fictions about alcoholism are the steps it takes into allegory and art."—Los Angeles Times