In Noche Triste (“Sad Night”), Robert Radin explores his struggles with anorexia in the 1980s. He also examines the history of self-starvation — its roots in rituals of religious purification, its development into an entertainment craze, its use as a tool of resistance — and, in the process, forces us to reconsider what it means to have anorexia. As his starving becomes an increasingly political act and he ventures to Mexico, alone, alienated from loved ones, we realize he’s in the grip of something dangerous that neither he, nor we, fully understand. Written in exquisite prose, Noche Triste is a devastating, revelatory chronicle of a complex illness.
In this unflinching memoir, Robert Radin describes a painful struggle with anorexia that begins with the diagnosis of a friend’s sister. Interweaving his personal recollections with historical accounts of fasts, holy visions, hunger strikes, and force-feeding, he turns a lens on the role that hunger has played both in public and in private, not only in the realms of medicine and psychology but in art, culture, and religion. Ultimately, though, this is a strikingly intense and personal story framed within the larger context of an illness that continues to defy generalizations.
—Leah Browning, author of Orchard City and In the Chair Museum
Robert Radin’s Noche Triste goes straight to the heart of anorexia and refuses to look away. It’s a heartfelt, fast-paced, often startling study of the disorder’s paradoxes, and Radin’s own passage through them. By disappearing you appear, he writes, and by appearing you disappear. I found it riveting.
—Rosecrans Baldwin, author of Everything Now
Robert Radin’s poignant, beautiful memoir tells the story of his quiet descent into anorexia with grace and sensitivity. Noche Triste is every bit as informative as Hilde Bruch’s classic The Golden Cage. When Radin reveals the traumatic antecedents of his eating disorder, his voice is clear and brave.
—Robert Brandt, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and co-founder of The FACE Program