The first quarter of the novel jumps around in time but is consistent in tone: urgent, sharp and expansive ... we do hear a lot about the brain, and addiction, and crack addiction specifically, all written with a dark kind of sparkling — a retroactive knowledge of the coming destruction, delivered cynically, at times almost derisively ... In his telling, it feels fast, and relentlessly readable even as we experience the bottomless needs and vacuous highs ... While the darkness and debasement of addiction are not new to literature, Sanchez’ approach feels rare. David is remembering — first person, past tense — from the front lines of full-on derangement, with a kind of sober, extremely honest reportage ... Much of this novel feels like the longest, most trying day in the life of a character who doesn’t know why he does what he does, nor even why he would want to stop. The reader is left to sort it out, which is both rewarding and engaging ... It’s a book of questions, and when it comes to addiction there are no answers — only stories ... This coming back to life may sound like a conventional addiction arc, but in Sanchez’ hands it never feels forced or hokey ... This exceptional debut is not a cautionary tale about the perils of drugs, but it certainly is the story of so many people right now, and it somehow leaves us with hope. What’s more, the rare if dark gems found along its ocean floors, all sharp and brittle and made of base desire, let us glean a part of what’s at the heart of addiction itself.
... startling, superbly written ... Wonderfully evocative of the seedy underbelly of Florida’s Gulf Coast, Sanchez’ s tale follows David as he cycles through recovery, relapses, homelessness, and rehab, yielding a stunningly written depiction of rock bottom. The prose flows like the water that surrounds the coast, occasionally crashing over the reader with arresting descriptions of drug-induced paranoia. Such passages hark back to Burroughs, while the way David’s love of literature helps his sobriety is deeply moving. Even when describing horrors, Sanchez’s rich, stylish prose is a treat to read. This is a brilliant, harrowing, and unflinching depiction of a journey to the brink and back.
... a daring and winning debut ... The early images are strong ... Chapters unfurl, and the details somehow remain engrossing ... some of the best writing about the state this native has seen in many years ... But the tender heart of the book is literature — namely its capacity to save us, its utility even for the meanest meth head ... Why do we have patience for this kind of man, his story, his special journey? Partly it’s because writing like this is a passport to a different country: different rules, different business hours, different food and horizons. It’s dark but awfully appealing. We run toward it, then slow for the crash, wondering who will die and how. Another reason books like this continue to work is the clear agony of the 'messenger,' a mix of compulsion and duty to share the journey, the depravity, the possibility of redemption ... What’s so clarifying about All Day Is a Long Time is how it asks us to think about what any of us really needs in the end.