A Riveting Memoir of Alcoholism and Abuse
‘I felt my cheeks burn, an ache of desire to help him somehow, and the scintillating thrill of seeing someone so raw and revealed in their instability. I recognized myself in him, my hidden self-assault completely transparent in his open wounds.’
They say a broken person can’t love wholly, but maybe there is someone else whose wreckage fits perfectly with their own. They complete each other: one decent human made from two deviants.
Krishna is a self-described child abuser and addict. Then she meets Levi, his body carved with knife wounds to illustrate his inner turmoil and alcoholic depravity. Two Sociopaths in Love is the author’s raw recollection of a year roped to Levi’s twisted fate. But at heart it’s a celebration of once-in-a-lifetime truest love.
Krishna embraces the codependent obsession of helping Levi get sober: through days- long detox where he lies immobilized by sedatives, to the ER for repairs of the self-harm he inflicts when intoxicated, in and out of recovery homes and then enclaves of street people. She is lured by the potential she sees and Levi’s alternative universe of insanity where he says what he thinks without filters and acts out his libidinous desires without shame.
There are so many cross-references of addiction and mental illness between them, but Krishna is thirteen years older and relatively rehabilitated at mid-life. Levi, 33, has bounced from his Fundamentalist Christian upbringing to juvenile delinquency and prison, lost custody of his son and favor with his family. He’s a black out drunk who can’t recall his own actions of beastly impropriety. His self-restraint blurs when left alone with Krishna’s teenage daughter. Soon after the real trouble begins, so why is it that Krishna’s devotion doesn’t stall or even slow?
The book has the racing pace and story line of women’s literary fiction, but it’s an entirely true story with enough salacious sexual details to draw a male readership. It has been consistently compared to Mary Carr, Frank McCourt and The Glass Castle, with a narrative frame moving from the immediacy of the love affair to the protagonists’ ancient trauma histories, informing their desperate drive to be together instead of alone in haunting alienation and pain.
Lyrical, evocative, descriptive in a very specific way. Beautiful writing. Fraught with pain.
A piercing self-help memoir; a fresh take on things we’ve heard before.
The reader is given the often-concealed view of what it’s like to be directly involved with a lover’s mental anguish, while having to wrestle with your own.
Raw. Occupies the taboo place of too much information while feeding our greedy impulse for voyeurism.
Powerful story. A show of courageous, unconditional love in the face of great adversity. Stunning imagery and an invitation into the mind like no other.
Ms. Klaus practices her craft with the skill and focus of an artisan. I encourage anyone to dive deep into her prose and watch as their heart, mind and sensibilities change.
It is a pleasure to witness an author offer a premise - one that in fact may be a stretch for some readers - then thoughtfully build a case to support it that leaves us nodding in agreement.
Exposes the despair of trying to help an alcoholic so riddled with demons that they cannot maintain sobriety. Interspersed in the heartbreak of this story are surprising moments of tongue-in-cheek humor, which are unexpected and relieving.
I'm drawn not only to Krishna's artful ability to write the truth, but also to voice that which so many of us can relate, but are afraid to speak. She will inspire the reader to deeper and more truthful expression in their own life.
Krishna Klaus is clearly a very high-functioning scribe. Her writing flows with an undercurrent of certainty. Long-suffering self-knowledge allows her to wend through tight, uncomfortable and unsure footholds with silent confidence. In the raw narrative of Two Sociopaths in Love, we can see this a woman with no frail heart.
‘I didn’t have any doubt. I knew what I felt – even if he was a murderer. I felt safe, paradoxically sheltered. He was wild like something growing in a swamp, and yet taller than the sludge that sustained him. I could get into the thick part of his canopy and lean into his strength. No one could find me there. I had discovered myself already, holding onto him so tightly. I was loyal – and desperate – and in need of connection. I was unable to close in on so many people without fear, including my own children. I was sick with anti-social tendencies and here was this perfect partner – again carved with the evidence of his own imbalance – with whom I didn’t have to have secrets about how strange I was.’