The Lost Night
In my debut, Lindsay, now a 30-something fact-checker, has long since moved on from the hazy night when her best friend—the star of their hard-partying postgrad crew—was found in her apartment with a suicide note on her computer and a bullet in her head. That is, until a chance encounter forces her to doubt her own memory of events. As the evidence piles up, Lindsay must face the terrifying possibility that her friend might have been murdered … and that she herself may have been involved.
Elsey Come Home
When we first meet Elsey, an expat in China who misses her former life as a successful painter, she’s a functioning alcoholic—fending off her depression and loneliness with more drinks than her liver would like. Her functioning alcoholism is damaging her relationship with her husband, her daughters, and herself, and so when she heads off for a weeklong mountain retreat, she has to face the ghosts of her past and figure out what alcohol is keeping her from confronting.
The Flight Attendant
On the surface, Cassandra Bowden’s life sounds pretty awesome: Her job as a flight attendant means she’s whisked off to adventures around the world, and through the binge drinking, one night stands, and hungover mornings, she always manages to make it onto her next flight on time. Then one morning she wakes up in a Dubai hotel room, head pounding, and spots a man in bed next to her—and a still-wet pool of blood on the sheets. Instead of calling the police, Cassandra tries to flee the horror … but it isn’t long before the blackout night catches up with her.
The Girl I Used to Be
Few instances of self-fury rival the intensity of: “Whyyy did I drink so much?” Realtor Gemma Brogan knows she overdid it at dinner with a potential client, and she’s not pleased about her decision-making…and the hole in her memory where last night should be. Then someone starts slipping her mementos of the night: a photo of an illicit kiss. Footage of her grousing about her marriage. As the blackmail intensifies, Gemma comes face-to-face with another night, deep in her past, that for years she’s been trying to outrun.
For many teens, partying and drinking in the woods is a rite of passage. For Allie Garvey, one such booze-soaked night shattered her friends’ lives when a stupid prank turned deadly. Twenty years later, Allie returns home for a childhood friend’s funeral and decides to finally figure out how the prank went so tragically awry. Unfortunately, she has no idea how unprepared she really is for the truth.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine
When things suck, reach for the vodka: That seems to be Eleanor Oliphant’s life motto. Of course, the alcohol only makes matters worse; when she drinks, she talks to a potted plant, stays inside all weekend, withdraws from everyone in her life, and in fact, withdraws from reality altogether.
The Girl on the Train (Movie Tie-In)
The titular train rider is the poster girl for that fumbly, oh-crap, what-did-drunk-me-do? feeling the binge drinkers among us sometimes experience. Alcoholic divorcee Rachel Watson wonders if, during a gap in her memory, she had something to do with a missing-person case—she was, after all, a little obsessed with the girl who disappeared, and she’d just been having some very unkind thoughts about her. Told from multiple perspectives, this twisty thriller demonstrates just how fallible our memories and interpretation of events really are.
In the mid-nineteenth century, ashore in Salem, Massachusetts, a drunken sailor emerges from his boozy fog long enough to ask himself: Did I kill a man? And was that man my closest friend? “I’ll dunk my skull into a barrel of gin,” McGlue decides, in this weird and rolicking novella from the author of My Year of Rest and Relaxation.
Daisy Jones & The Six
Taylor Jenkins Reid
Broody Billy Dunne heads up The Six, a buzzy band embarking on their first tour. As they hit the road, Billy adds a fourth ingredient to the sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll cliche: alcohol, loads of it, enough to make him cheat on his pregnant girlfriend and throw his musical career into question. His life changes for the better when a producer pairs the band up with Daisy, a 20-year-old singer with all the makings of a musical legend. This juicy read, told in an oral-history format, will have you cheering for the rising stars even as Billy leaves his hard-partying days behind.
Last night, that fourth shot of tequila seemed like a good idea. The next morning? Not so much. It’s a familiar feeling for many of us: As a headache throbs and nausea roils, we’ve felt that vague but crushing melange of shame, bewilderment, and sprawling, nebulous guilt. Most of the time, brain chemistry is to blame: All that alcohol messes with your serotonin receptors, essentially giving you depression for the day. (In my early 20s, my friends and I would rather darkly call the emotional side of a hangover a “hang-yourself-over.”) And with a little time and a lot of Gatorade, you’ll be back to normal.
But what if the worst possible outcome came true? What if, in your drunken stupor, you did something unspeakable? What if you were a monster and didn’t even know it? A novelist’s job is to stoke readers’ rawest emotions and deepest fears; that’s why playing out the what-ifs of binge-drinking is awfully fun. (Oh, don’t act so shocked that your favorite authors are all at least a little sadistic—look how often we kill off beloved characters and smirk as you wail.) And of course, alcohol-related amnesia creates an instant mystery: What the heck happened last night?
Here, nine novels that feature characters who partied a little too hard to remember… and wound up facing consequences they’ll never forget.