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.
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
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!