Notes for a Novel
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780151014989, 176pp.
Publication Date: February 28, 2009
In a famous but declining Hollywood bar works A Barman. Morbidly amused by the decadent decay of his surroundings, he watches the patrons fall into their nightly oblivion, making notes for his novel. In the hope of uncovering their secrets and motives, he establishes tentative friendships with the cast of variously pathological regulars.
But as his tenure at the bar continues, he begins to serve himself more often than his customers, and the moments he lives outside the bar become more and more painful: he loses his wife, his way, himself. Trapped by his habits and his loneliness, he realizes he will not survive if he doesn't break free. And so he hatches a terrible, necessary plan of escape and his only chance for redemption.
Step into Ablutions and step behind the bar, below rock bottom, and beyond the everyday take on storytelling for a brilliant, new twist on the classic tale of addiction and its consequences.
About the Author
Praise For Ablutions: Notes for a Novel…
PRAISE FOR ABLUTIONS:
"… dark and provocative … deWitt has painted a portrait of the human condition … And ABLUTIONS has achieved something remarkable." --The New York Times Book Review
"… deWitt's writing is sharp and bitter and funny … " --Los Angeles Times
"DeWitt's dirty realism makes me want to roll in the mud with him. Brilliant." --Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan
"Viciously hilarious … deWitt’s portrayal of the drinking life is staunchly unromantic." -- Time Out New York (Five stars; Book of the day)
"These scenes are stunningly depicted … deWitt writes beautifully about ugliness, and his book casts a haunting spell." -- Booklist
"DeWitt's style of prose is refreshing and more like real life speak than most books, without losing the necessary descriptiveness to relay the feel and pure nuttiness of the situation inside the Hollywood bar where the scenes are set." -- About.com
"Ablutions is like an intense art-house movie, where the lead actor is in every scene but makes the whole thing sparkle with his star power." -- The Oregonian
"Ablutions is funny and precarious, a novel that shifts the ground under the reader's feet, a naked-lightbulb self-examination that doesn't shy from high comedy. DeWitt has a gimlet eye and a dead aim with words."-- Luc Sante, author of Low Life
"Patrick deWitt's writing is deeply charismatic -- a coiled ramble of note perfect sentences, mysterious and burbling declarative tones, the saddest humor imaginable, and the strange physical proportions of a magician's top hat. I was equally taken aback by the needling brilliance that surfaces at its every turn and riveted by the brains and heart it must have taken to finesse such a clearly broken down yet perfectly clear and penetrating world. I love this novel very much." -- Dennis Cooper
“Patrick deWitt is the 21st century poet of Hollywood's desperate souls, the misbegotten, broken, and the lost. He writes with a fierce compassion about people treading the vague boundary between homicide and self-destruction, loveless sex and sexless love, all lined up and looking into our own culturally shared abyss. Beware, beware. But read Ablutions.” --Chris Offutt, author of No Heroes: A Memoir of Coming Home
"Ablutions is a novel about the deteriorating health of our livers and the malaise of our dreams. Perverse in its humor, but ultimately about our potential for redemption, it's riotously funny and cripplingly sad all at the same time. Patrick DeWitt takes on our diseases and depravity with prose that may yet rescue us from the gutter." -- Salvador Plascencia, author of The People of Paper
PRAISE FOR PATRICK DEWITT
“A hypnotic cross between Lorrie Moore and Denis Johnson.”—Seattle Weekly
“Something truly fresh, something that gave me a reading experience as shivery and enlivening as I’ve had in a long time.”—Dennis Cooper, author of Closer, The Sluts, and God Jr.