Mess: One Man's Struggle to Clean Up His House and His Act

Mess: One Man's Struggle to Clean Up His House and His Act

by Barry Yourgrau

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Overview

Hilarious and poignant, a glimpse into the mind of someone who is both a sufferer from and an investigator of clutter.

Millions of Americans struggle with severe clutter and hoarding. New York writer and bohemian Barry Yourgrau is one of them. Behind the door of his Queens apartment, Yourgrau’s life is, quite literally, chaos. Confronted by his exasperated girlfriend, a globe-trotting food critic, he embarks on a heartfelt, wide-ranging, and too often uproarious project—part Larry David, part Janet Malcolm—to take control of his crammed, disorderly apartment and life, and to explore the wider world of collecting, clutter, and extreme hoarding.

Encounters with a professional declutterer, a Lacanian shrink, and Clutterers Anonymous—not to mention England’s most excessive hoarder—as well as explorations of the bewildering universe of new therapies and brain science, help Yourgrau navigate uncharted territory: clearing shelves, boxes, and bags; throwing out a nostalgic cracked pasta bowl; and sorting through a lifetime of messy relationships. Mess is the story of one man’s efforts to learn to let go, to clean up his space (physical and emotional), and to save his relationship.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393248050
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 08/03/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Writer-performer Barry Yourgrau is the author of acclaimed books of brief fiction, including Wearing Dad's Head and The Sadness of Sex, in whose film version he starred. He’s appeared on MTV and NPR, and written for the New York Times, Huffington Post, Paris Review, and Vice, among others. Born in South Africa, he lives in New York and Istanbul.

Table of Contents

Prologue with Grocery Bags 1

1 The Chinese Puzzle Box 17

2 What's Wrong with Me? 32

3 Some Kind of Flâneur 51

4 Let the Right One In 68

5 Brothers Grim 86

6 The Cut-Glass Hand Bell 104

7 Mastering Disaster 122

8 Dodge Days, or Letting Go of L.A. 142

9 Home Comforting 156

10 The Real Stuff 175

11 The Notorious Bungalow 196

12 Freud's "Dirty" Couch 214

13 The Red Fish 227

14 Gordon's Knot 251

Postscript 269

Acknowledgments 274

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