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The Fuck-Up Paperback – May 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: MTV/Pocket Books; New edition edition (May 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671027638
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671027636
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Okay, the narrator really is a fuck-up. Barely employed as an usher at a Village cinema, he falls for a colleague who seems dewily innocent even as he continues dumping his dirty clothes on girlfriend Sarah's floor. Then all in one day he loses his job, his chance for new love, and Sarah herself and winds up sleeping on the coach of a friend who's probably even more of a fuck-up than he is. From here he moves swiftly through trying to score, trying to keep his job at a porno theater by pretending that he's gay, and somehow getting himself involved in a robbery. Nersesian, a former editor at a literary magazine called The Portable Lower East Side and an English instructor at a community college in the Bronx, writes briskly and acutely, with a good sense of detail. At least he's not a fuck-up. But this isn't exactly the "slice of gritty New York life" promised on the cover. Despite the narrator's many astonishing escapades, it's really kind of bland.ABarbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

The Village Voice [A] terrific novel....The charm and grit of Nersesian's voice is immediately enveloping, as the down-and-out but oddly up narrator...slinks through Alphabet City and guttural utterances of love.

Paper Nersesian creates a charming everyman whose candor and sure-footed description of his physical surroundings and emotional framework help his tale flow naturally and therefore believably.

Hal Sirowitz author of Mother Said A Trainspotting without drugs, New York style.

Time Out For those who remember that the eighties were as much about destitute grit as they were about the decadent glitz described in the novels of Bret Easton Ellis and Jay McInerney, this book will come as a fast-paced reminder.

Smug Magazine Touted as the bottled essence of early eighties East Village living, The Fuck-Up is, refreshingly, nothing nearly so limited....A cult favorite, I'd say it's ready to become a legitimate religion.

Jennifer Belle author of Going Down Having "grown to tolerate all of New York's degradations," Arthur Nersesian's main character is irresistibly charming, funny, and real. Nersesian's writing, reminding me at times of John Patrick Shanley and Gogol, is beautiful, especially when it is about women and love. The Fuck-Up is a terrific success.

Grid Magazine Not since The Catcher in the Rye, or John Knowles' A Separate Peace, have I read such a beautifully written book.... Nersesian's powerful, sure-footed narrative alone is so believably human in its poignancy... Nersesian mixes "F" trains, lumpy couches, SoHo lofts, dive bars, lonely divorcees, porn theaters, posh brownstones, embezzling employers, ritzy Hard Rock Cafe parties, deceitful, would-be kept starlets, bathroom-stall poetry, free Mercedes-Benzes, and even Mormons. Whew! I couldn't put this book down.

Flipside Fantastically alluring! I cannot recommend this book highly enough!

More About the Author

Arthur Nersesian is the author of eight novels, including the best-selling The Fuck-Up (more than 100,000 copies sold), dogrun (MTV/Simon & Schuster), Manhattan Loverboy (Akashic), Suicide Casanova (Akashic), Chinese Takeout (HarperCollins), Unlubricated

Customer Reviews

Arthur Nersesian has done a very well job on the characters in the book.
"radiomoscow0"
I thought that some of the characters, especially the female ones, were one dimensional, and that the plot was very weak in certain parts.
Marcus Ferdeth
I had actually owned this book for about 5 years before I even decided to read it.
ern fuggit

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 70 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
Nersesian's first novel is still his best. This book is a raw, madcap, sometimes goofy -- but always fun -- story of a perpetual screw-up who can't catch a break to save his life. Sound familiar? This novel also offers the best tour of downtown New York City since Richard Perez's The Losers' Club. Of all of Nersesian's books, I prefer this one the best. It's a hilarious diamond in the rough. I guarantee you'll be entertained. Also recommended: Dogrun, The Losers' Club by Richard Perez, Post Office by Charles Bukowski
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is a must-read for anyone interested in contemporary urban literature. But buy the original edition on Akashic Books, available here at Amazon.com. The Akashic edition is the independent edition, and besides, it has great drawings for chapter headings which the MTV Books edition doesn't have (!)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "muppetcow" on August 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a really good book with a very bad title. I am a big fan of the artist naming his work whatever he/she wants to without the powers that be asserting their influence, but I think in this case the publishers should have made a fuss. Why, you may ask? Because I think the title effectively drives away many a reader who would really enjoy this quirky little novel and attracts an audience who may be disappointed it's not a lot heavier.
Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of heavy stuff going on in here--embezzlement, death, domestic disputes, psychosis--but it's actually quite an enjoyable read. The novel follows the exploits of a 20-something after his girlfriend breaks up with him and kicks him out of their New York apartment, leaving him effectively homeless. He manages to scrape by through a series of freak occurrences and emerge at the end a little road weary, but essentially none the worse for the wear.
This could be the story of any recent college grad, and that is a little frightening. However, rather than beat you over the head with a bunch of woe-is-me crap, the novel never gets overly depressing and is, in some places, rather optimistic, without being treacly or sentimental.
I really enjoyed this novel. It is well-written, interesting, and hard to put down.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jay Temple on July 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
I read this novel after picking up THE LOSERS' CLUB by Richard Perez. Both novels take place in New York City's East Village, although a decade apart: LC in the 90s, FU in the 80s. Why does this novel work for me? Simple: despite being published by MTV, it very non-mainstream, meaning unpredictable and to some extent 'unpolished,' even 'unliterary.' It simply unfolds in a very unconventional way. I read a lot of books and believe me there's not a whole lot of humor and goofiness in 'literary' novels. I just enjoyed being able to lean back and read a book that was fun! So, yes, I recommend it! Originally this was a self-published novel that took on a life of its own, and was later picked up by MTV. I appreciate the offbeat quality it has. It also lacks the pretension of a lot of 'downtown' writing which is frankly quite dull, dreary, humorless and self-important. This book is simply a goofy romp! Heck, try it out! Laugh a little!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
Brilliant, fun, disturbing, humorous, philosophical. I was captured after the first two sentences: "Perhaps the price of comfort is that life passes more rapidly. But for anyone who has lived in uneasiness, even for a short, memorable duration, it's a trade-off that will gladly be made."
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Schtinky VINE VOICE on December 31, 2003
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up in a bookstore mainly because the title made me chuckle. "Who would call their book *that*?"
In paging through, I found some interesting prose and went ahead and made the purchase. I'm not sorry. This is a well written book that details the life of someone who is not only submersed in poverty, but does not have the personal drive to do anything about it.
A realistic glimpse into the lives of those we see out there everyday, but thankfully don't have to live ourselves.
Our protagonist is an intelligent man, but has no desire to do anything with his life. He works as an usher at a third rate local theater, and is content with meager wages and life in the slow lane. He has a girlfriend and a place to stay and a job, and that seems to be enough. Until he meets a co-worker at the theater, and decides that he should have an affair with her. She, unfortunately, does not reciprocate his feelings, but leads him on anyway.
When his girlfriend finds out, she kicks him out of their apartment, forcing him to go and stay with an old friend of his. I found his friend to be one of the more interesting characters in the book, until......you should read it for yourself.
Things go from bad to worse, with our narrator winding up working in a gay porno theater and pretending to be gay to keep the job, getting involved in some shady business, getting badly beaten up not once but a few times.
He looses his place to stay, looses his new job, looses his friends, looses, well....everything. Rather a "rags to rags" story, with a surprise ending that brings him closer to the one person he hates above everyone else, and back into a lifestyle of mediocre contentment.
This was an entertaining and enlightening read, well written, and taking us into paths we are curious about but just prefer not to tread in ourselves. Good book. Enjoy!
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