Lit: Joe Eszterhas

Author Joe Eszterhas’ life has been a dizzying ride. It should probably come as no surprise that guy who wrote Showgirls has now found God. From a childhood in refugee camps and Cleveland back alleys to career success as a National Book Award-nominated a

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It should probably come as no surprise that guy who wrote Showgirls has now found God. From a childhood in refugee camps and Cleveland back alleys to career success as a National Book Award-nominated author and highly paid Hollywood screenwriter, Joe Eszterhas’ life has been a dizzying ride. Cigarettes and alcohol (and women and drugs and more) were the fuel that stoked this heathen’s engine. And it finally caught up to him — and, by extension, his third wife and four young sons. Eszterhas describes the situation early in his latest book, Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith: “In April of 2001, only weeks after we got back to Ohio, I was diagnosed with throat cancer. I was twelve years old when I’d started smoking, fourteen when I’d started drinking. I was now fifty-six.” What followed wasn’t pretty: “They cut out 80 percent of my larynx at the Cleveland Clinic. They put a tube down my throat so I could breathe. I couldn’t speak. I used a child’s blackboard to communicate. They told me I had to stop smoking and drinking immediately — immediately — or I’d die.” Guess who helped him stop? I’d be easy to dismiss Eszterhas as just another onetime letch trolling for redemption, but even Bill Maher would have to concede that the guy is one hell of a writer — a fact proven yet again via Crossbearer’s evocative, propulsive prose and unblinking honesty. Eszterhas talks about his book 7 p.m. Tuesday at Joseph-Beth Booksellers. Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here

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