In ‘Vicious Dogs Attack Me In Sleepless Nights of Summer’ his bold collection of ‘prose, tales, and streams of semi-consciousness’, actor and musician Scott Schiaffo (Clerks, Vulgar) takes you through the depths of existential angst, addiction, and near-death experiences. This book reflects a troubling time in a gifted man’s journey. Schiaffo released this book of collected poetry and short stories in 2014. The book is a culmination of material written during 1986 through 1998, when the author was deep in the throes of alcoholism and drug addiction. He has now released a new audio book version for Audible; read by the author himself (also available on CD, Kindle or the original Paperback)
The confessional which neither promotes or apologises for the addicted lifestyle has resonated with many as the author has since been sober since 2006. Although this is not a recovery book, listeners have mentioned in their reviews that they believe the material has a sense of hope even in its darkest turns.
In his introduction the author warns us that we are for in for a rough ride and this is no joke; these works are very raw and extremely lewd in places including sexual and drug use references so some listener caution is advised. Now that disclaimer is out the way we can dig further into this unique work…described as ‘prose, tales, and streams of semi-consciousness’ the pieces vary in length from a few seconds to a couple of minutes and there is no connecting narrative (despite some common theme/threads) so you might chose to dig into a piece at a time (like a coffee table book) or like me you could take a ‘trip’ with the author and listen to it in it’s entirety and I would certainly advise that as an experience (and is an interesting way to spend just over an hour).
As a whole work it delves the depth of the human experience; love, loss, desperation and much more and at it’s best is an exploration into the inner working of a creative yet troubled mind struggling with addiction and self loathing. It is raw but at the same time surreal and ‘Hunter S Thompson-eque’ in it’s use of language. The pieces and abstract thoughts range from the the emotional and profound to the downright vulgar.
The readings and audio production (performed, produced and engineered by Schiaffo himself) are excellent and well measured.
Some particular stand out pieces for me are the titular ‘Vicious Dogs Attack Me In Sleepless Nights of Summer’; one of the longer and more profound pieces, it’s an open invite to the authors psyche and how he viewed himself at the time of writing. And i also enjoyed ‘Purse’ which reminded me very much of The Stone Roses ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ in it’s rhyming scheme.
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