Harley Loco by Rayya Elias
A Memoir of Hard Living, Hair, and Post-Punk, from the Middle East to the Lower East Side

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Elias's writing (in her third language) is plain street, unliterary and compelling; her self-descriptions are impressive in their refusal to dodge or euphemise. The result is unsparing...
-Guardian

Synopsis

“It is my honor to introduce these pages—so gravelly, so straggly, so hopeful, bright, and true.”  —Elizabeth Gilbert

When she was seven, Rayya Elias and her family fled the political conflict in their native Syria, settling in Detroit. Bullied in school and caught between the world of her traditional family and her tough American classmates, she rebelled early.

Elias moved to New York City to become a musician and kept herself afloat with an uncommon talent for cutting hair. At the height of the punk movement, life on the Lower East Side was full of adventure, creative inspiration, and temptation. Eventually, Elias’s passionate affairs with lovers of both sexes went awry, her (more than) occasional drug use turned to addiction, and she found herself living on the streets—between her visits to jail.

This debut memoir charts four decades of a life lived in the moment, a path from harrowing loss and darkness to a place of peace and redemption. Elias’s wit and lack of self-pity in the face of her extreme highs and lows make Harley Loco a powerful read that’s sure to appeal to fans of Patti Smith, Augusten Burroughs, and Eleanor Henderson.
 

About Rayya Elias

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RAYYA ELIAS was born in Aleppo, Syria, in 1960 and moved to the United States in 1967. She is a musician, hairdresser, and filmmaker, and also sells real estate to make some extra scratch. Elias lives in New York City and has been clean since August 8, 1997.
 
Published April 4, 2013 by Penguin Books. 353 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Gay & Lesbian. Non-fiction
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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Aida Edemariam on Jun 14 2013

Elias's writing (in her third language) is plain street, unliterary and compelling; her self-descriptions are impressive in their refusal to dodge or euphemise. The result is unsparing...

Read Full Review of Harley Loco: A Memoir of Hard... | See more reviews from Guardian

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