I've read several memoirs about addiction but what makes Chancers different is that it alternates between the viewpoints of the addict, Graham Macindoe and his girlfriend, Susan Stellin. Stellin, a reporter, met Macindoe, a photographer, in Montauk, NY but it was nearly three years later when she asked him to photograph her professionally for the travel book she had just written. Several months later, the two reconnect and begin an almost accidental relationship.
However, Graham is hiding from Susan that he is addicted to heroin. A talented photographer, he soon gets to the point that he's not working at all. At first supportive, Susan finally withdraws from the day to day challenges of trying to cure an addict, yet she remains always on the fringe of his life. Finally hitting rock bottom, Graham is arrested for possession and sent to Rikers Island where he serves his time. Macindoe, born in Scotland and not yet a naturalized citizen, learns that his conviction for a drug offense makes him subject to deportation. Through a stroke of luck, Susan re-enters Macindoe's life just when he needs it the most.
This is a fascinating story of addiction and the lengths that people will go to to help one another. The alternating viewpoints is an effective way of letting the reader see the story from both sides. It is an honest account of how ugly addiction can be both for the addict and those who love him/her. On another note, If you're so inclined, Mr Mcindoe took pictures of himself in the throes of addiction and those photos are available online.
Thanks to the authors, the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this book. I loved it and will recommend it as a book of 2016.