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Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memoir Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 347 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (September 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393051390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393051391
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #496,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Flynn's wayward father, a self-styled writer and ex-con, describes his life on Boston's streets as "another bullshit night in Suck City": he hangs out in ATM lobbies, stuffs his coat with newspaper and is often "still drunk from the night before." This biting memoir describes the years poet Flynn (Some Ether; Blind Huber) spent, in his late 20s, working at one of the city's homeless shelters, where his path crisscrossed with his down-and-out father's. In examining their troublesome relationship, Flynn admits to feeling lost, as he turned to alcohol and came close to being on the other side of the shelter admissions booth himself. Punchy language and short chapters make what could otherwise be excessively painful more palatable (e.g., "Fact: In 1839 Dostoyevsky witnessed a mob of peasants attacking his father.... they poured vodka down his throat until he died. Fact: I can watch my father pouring vodka down his own throat any day of the week. My role is to play the son, though I often feel like a mob of peasants"). Although it's depressing, the book never seems hopeless, because readers know the author has succeeded at doing what his father only pretended to do: write, and write well.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Poet Flynn was either fortunate or unfortunate enough to live a life so ripe for a good memoir. The events in Another Bullshit Night are extraordinary enough to spur critical debate about whether the story would be better served in fictional form. In fact, the story is so enlightening that Flynn’s experimentation with narrative styles (one act plays, interviews, stream-of-consciousness) gets only cursory mention—a real free pass for book reviewers. The critics leap to call his prose poetic and lyrical, but it is the stark examination of homelessness and the paper-thin border between generations and lifestyles that gives this memoir its deep resonance.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.


More About the Author

Nick Flynn is the award-winning author of Some Ether, Blind Huber, The Ticking is the Bomb and Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, winner of the PEN/Martha Albrand Award. He divides his time between Texas, where he teaches at the University of Houston, and Brooklyn, New York.

Customer Reviews

And I didn't put it down until I read the last page (twice!
Vena
Nick Flynn beautifully weaves the story of his life with his father's.
Michelle Crane
Perfect for the tone of the book and Flynn is clearly a great writer.
Nanci Dru

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Peter Baklava on July 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
[...]It's tough to review a book called "Another Bull---t Night in S--k City" without using profanities, you know?

Which brings me to the one lamentable thing about the book: an unfortunate title, which may drive potential readers away from a great read. Though the title prepares you for something like Charles Bukowski, this book is another type of bird, entirely. It is a remarkably decent book written by a conscientious human being who also happens to be a conscientious writer who cares greatly about his craft.

Nick Flynn laces together the frayed ends of his mother's and estranged father's failings, along with desultory tales of his own early carelessness. Life in Boston in the 80's is about keeping afloat. As Nick retreats to living aboard an old pleasure boat, he watches his father steadily sinking in a tide of alcohol abuse. Nick assiduously avoids his father until circumstances bring them together at the Pine Street Inn, a homeless shelter where Nick is employed, and Nick's father becomes a resident.

The irretrievably damaged father, Jonathan Flynn, wanders these pages like Banquo's ghost. Even in his youth a flim-flam man, Jonathan Flynn is not likeable. He is semi-coherent, devious, and deluded, but he is Nick's father and Nick cannot run from him anymore than he could run away from himself. This, then, is the story of Nick's coming to grips with his father, and finding his own purpose.

Nick Flynn's achievement is that he writes what should be a very depressing story in an undepressing way. There is not an ounce of self-pity in these pages, and the words all ring true. The twilight world of the homeless is evoked, with great compassion.

Would that all the clueless 'go-getters' of the world had this book. It would enrich their lives.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Pat Mullan on September 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
I've just finished page 341, the last page. It's midnight here in these Connemara hills and I can't rest. I'm unsettled. I need to write something about this book. But what? Do I love it? Do I hate it? In the beginning I felt like quitting after every ten pages, then continuing after the next ten pages, and so on, and so on. I felt myself both repulsed and seduced. Eventually I gave in. Gave in to Nick Flynn's words, sentences, story, language, world, universe. The universe of Nick Flynn's disfunctional family: his alcoholic, delusional, absentee father and his suicidal mother, form the foundation of this memoir. In large measure it's a journey in search of his father, a man who lives by his wits, fuelled by alcohol, driven by the delusion/fear of writing the 'Great American Novel' (with a million dollar advance and the Nobel prize certainties in that delusion), to eventual homelessness on the street. It's also Nick Flynn is search of himself. But it's none of the above. It's truly a work of literature that sets out, on every page, to capture, and lose, the mystery of the human condition. It's surreal, a glimpse at a parallel universe that we may all be living. This book finds a kinship with Joyce and Beckett, and it's no wonder that Nick Flynn chooses an excerpt from Beckett's 'Endgame' to open the story: HAMM: Scoundrel! Why did you engender me? NAGG: I don't know. HAMM: What? Why didn't you know? NAGG: That it'd be you.

You will be haunted by this story long after you've finished reading it.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Kinson on August 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I love Nick Flynn's writing style. He is a poet who has written a book about his life, and mostly about his father's life, who fancies himself a poet also (though the jury is still out on that).

Nick worked in a homeless shelter for years where he ran across his father who was either living on the streets or in the shelter. His father eventually gets a little apartment and Nick visits him occasionally to check up on him. The conversations with his father are hilarious -- although that might not have been the intention.

The book is well written. It does not attempt to make excuses for the father's alcoholism or homelessness. It also doesn't attempt to make excuses for the fact that Nick did not pro-actively get his father off the streets. It simply relays the facts in a straight-foward manner of an off-beat and bizarre life.

Bottom line: Excellent book and quick read. The book reads like poetry; it is beautifully written.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Charles S. Houser VINE VOICE on September 3, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nick Flynn has been dealt a cruel hand. This memoir tells of the author's troubled relationship with his alcoholic father, his mother's suicide, and the tendency of all the family members to get caught up in criminal activities and drug addiction...and to live marginal, unsettled lives. Flynn's father spends many of his adult years living on the streets of Boston. Father and son reconnect because the son works in a homeless shelter. The father claims to be a poet and to have written a ground-breaking novel that Little Brown is prepared to offer him $2 million to publish (or $4 million, depending on the time of day and the degree of his alcoholic grandiosity). The literary connection between father and son is something that seems to haunt and frighten the younger Flynn. In the end, he seems to recognize that he is somehow his father's scribe and that the memoir he is writing is the "story" his father never mananged to get down on paper. "That book somehow fell to me, the son, to write. My father's uncredited, noncompliant ghostwriter. Not enough to be stuck with his body, to be stuck with his name, but to become his secretary, his handmaid, caught up in folly, a doomed project, to write about a book that doesn't, that didn't ever, that may not even , exist" (p. 322).

what is ironic, and somehow true-seeming, is that people who come from the most disengaged families turn out to be the ones who become the most enmeshed with their parents and who come most dangerously close to repeating their parents' mistakes. Flynn has insight to his family dynamics, but this doesn't seem to help him avoid the poinlessness of numbing himself out on drugs and alcohol or from forming anything but superficial, need-based relationships with women.
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