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The Pint Man: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Steve Rushin
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Kindle Price: $9.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

A funny and endearing novel about the comforts of a never-ending adolescence and the glories of Guinness.


For Rodney Poole, a friendly and unassuming lover of clever wordplay and television sports of all stripes, Boyle's Irish Pub is a haven of good cheer, pleasantly pointless conversation, elaborate jokes, heated trivia contests, well-poured pints, and familiar faces. The pressures and demands of the outside world hold no sway there- the crowd at Boyle's is his family, and with family all sins are forgiven.


But reality cannot be kept at bay forever, and now Rodney's best friend and partner in inertia, Keith, is getting married and moving to Chicago. Since Rodney has for the most part enjoyed his bachelorhood vicariously through Keith, the prospect of being single, middle-aged, unemployed, and without his pal to while away the nights with is causing Rodney to rethink—or rather, create—his priorities.


When Keith introduces him to the lovely Mairead (rhymes with parade), a cheerful career woman who seems to enjoy his bad puns, ambitionless nature, and love of literature, Rodney can spy an honorable path to grown-up-hood at last. But a series of comic mishaps jeopardize his budding relationship with Mairead, his friendship with Keith, and most serious of all, his place on a barstool in the idyllic world of Boyle's.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews Review

Steve Rushin on New York Irish Bars

I met my wife in an Irish bar in New York: The Dublin House, on West 79th Street, with its great neon harp flashing above the door like a lighthouse beacon. We met before the smoking ban, when cigarettes were still compulsory and everyone left the place smelling like a smoked brisket and the harp sometimes seemed, as you walked out alone at 2 o'clock in the morning, to be blinking back tears.

At the time, I frequented another bar on the West Side--though "frequented" hardly does it justice. "Constanted" is more like it. The Emerald Inn, on Columbus Avenue, was a block from my fetid apartment and became, as it did for many in the neighborhood, the rec room or front parlor I didn't have.

There were other bars: You didn't want to be seen at the same place every night--a problem not shared by the protagonist in The Pint Man, Rodney Poole. Rodney is content to take up residence at Boyle's, the New York bar where much of the action (and conspicuous inaction) of The Pint Man takes place.

But I sometimes cheated on the Emerald, and went uptown to McAleer's, which had darts, or across town to Fiona's, for European Champions League soccer. There, my English buddy Simon and I would sit in hard-back chairs watching mid-week, mid-day matches that bled into prime time, and then into the 11 o'clock news, and then into the late night monologues. One night we chased a day of beer and TV with a bracing walk through Central Park, at midnight, in a downpour. When we reached the western shore of the park, we went to the nearest place we could find to get out of the rain: The Emerald, for a nightcap.

All of this is to say that I always wanted to own a convivial place that could shelter you from a storm, and reality, that was small, but with the sort of ancient, oversized, walk-in urinals they have at the Old Town Bar or McSorley's. (One of the minor ambitions of this novel was to do for urinal makers what Moby Dick did for whaling, and exalt an overlooked industry.)

In writing The Pint Man, I was faced with the elemental question of what to call my bar. Beer has long been in my blood, and not just in the literal sense. My ancestors were much practiced at naming bars. In 1946, my father's father, Jack Rushin, opened a joint on Market Street in San Francisco he called Jack's. But the neon sign he ordered came back misspelled. Faced with a costly correction, he installed it unaltered, which is why San Francisco had--under different ownership--a famous nightclub of the '50s called Fack's.

On my mother's side, I come from a long line of big-league baseball players, firefighters, and bar owners named Boyle. My grandfather Jimmie Boyle briefly played catcher for the New York Giants and his brother Buzz was an outfielder for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Their uncle, Jack Boyle, had a long career with the Phillies, then became nearly as renowned as the owner of a bar in downtown Cincinnati.

With The Pint Man then, I aspired to tell a story largely set in an Irish bar, with a lot of beer, and a little bit of baseball talk, and more urinals than were strictly necessary, and to call that bar Boyle's. Like its real-world antecedents, Boyle's is proof that sunlight isn't always required for life to flourish on this planet. --Steve Rushin

(Photo © Rebecca Lobo)

From Publishers Weekly

The first novel from former Sports Illustrated columnist Rushin joins other works of pub fiction, yet it's the wordplay—not the alcohol consumption—that drives the novel. Rodney Poole is unemployed, spends much of his time at New York bar Boyle's, and has had only one serious girlfriend. Change is in the air as Rodney's best friend prepares to move to Chicago and Rodney meets a woman named Mairead (who appears to actually like him); even his prospects of finding a job are looking up. It's not a plot-heavy novel, with much of its suspense revolving around a mysteriously disappearing and reappearing U-Haul truck and the question of whether two bullies schooled by Rodney will show up at Boyle's again. What sets the work apart is Rodney's sharp wit. Praised for is verbal ambidexterity, Rodney loves wordplay as much as he loves beer, as is amply demonstrated in his wooing of Mairead. The banter is funny enough to make the reader look past the novel's defects, and Rushin emerges as one of the sharpest wits on the scene. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 360 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0767931831
  • Publisher: Anchor; 1 edition (February 23, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0036S4EG4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,118 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I've been a big Steve Rushin fan for 20 years, dating back to his early years as one of Sports Illustrated's most gifted story-tellers. "The Pint Man" was my first experience reading Rushin as a novelist and I was not disappointed. He creates, more than ever, like a kid in a sandbox, with each pebble a letter and no limitations about what may be lurking behind the next pebble.

For laugh-out-loud humor, plot twists, engaging pop culture references, periodic etymological lessons, trivia fodder, and just plain-old mind-blowing wordplay, "The Pint Man" is a bulls-eye.

While, yes, it is a novel, it also serves as an encyclopedia, history lesson, trivia treasure trove, and insightful commentary on a wide range of fronts. And of the many masterfully told scenes here, perhaps my favorite parts involves a guy, and an act, by the name of "Hookslide."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wordy Romp of a Novel July 27, 2010
Rodney, a thirty-something year old man who has not yet fully grown up, is in a bit of a holding pattern at the moment. Six weeks ago, he lost his job in 'corporate communications' for Talbott's when he wrote a speech for the CEO of the company and missed what proved to be a very embarrassing typo, and his search for a new job can hardly be called serious. On the personal side, his best friend Keith is moving to Chicago to get married and start a new job. But happily, there is still one constant in his life, his favorite neighborhood bar, Boyle's.

"Rodney has read a book called The Great Good Place, by an urban sociologist named Ray Oldenburg, who coined the phrase "the third place" to describe informal public gathering spaces-bars- that are neither home nor job. Rodney had no work and home was a way station, where he kept his books and his bed. For him, bars were his first. Home was the second. There was no third."

Yes, Boyle's plays a very important role in his life and in this book, but it is not the only thing. He has all those books...

"He kept every book he has ever read. Until there were just too many, he had them all on shelves, their spines displayed as trophies, like the taxidermied heads of big game he had bagged."

And now he has met a smart, beautiful woman, Mairead, "rhymes with parade", who shared his love of wordy banter...oh yes, it may be love!

On the surface, this book is a glimpse into Rodney's life and the love triangle he is caught in, between his bar and this delightful woman he has just met. While that is a fine story, with some very amusing incidents, the real attraction for this reader is Rodney's love of words...palindromes and witty banter, puns and spoonerisms, and endless examples of amusing trivia.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wordplay for the pubophile March 13, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you've ever laughed out loud at an anagram, palindrome, pun, spoonerism, Wellerism or Tom Swiftie, or if you've ever bent your arm at a pub where everybody knew your name, this is the book for you.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So funny! March 9, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I do not normally review, but this book is like eating candy. you will laugh out loud on each page.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wickedly cheeky and heartfelt March 13, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What makes Pint Man great to read is the style, dry as an etching, sparse, elegant, literate, modest, cynical. Steve Rushin makes it look easy: paragraph upon paragraph of jokes, allusions, nicks and barbs held in more or less perfect control and tempo, creating a web of words that lay so lightly on the page, anchored by a couple of running jokes, a triple pun and a final perfect landing, like the Olympic gymnasts who come to earth without a tremor and an extra hop. And he knows how to tell a story.
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By Lar
To all you Steve Rushin fans...steer clear of this one. Not a page goes by without Rushin's brilliant wordplay (5-star). As fiction, though, this piece is totally disappointing (1-star; hence the 3-star overall rating). By page 259 we're where we were on page 1...hearing about an alcoholic's escapades in his favorite hangout. There isn't a character in this story whose neck you're not ready to wring by the end. Bob Roe steered you wrong, Steve. Stick with nonfiction and churning out the terrific essays we've come to enjoy. Don't quit your day job.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, witty and hilarious September 14, 2010
By Fred
Steve Rushin has a magical way of weaving words into a story that combines wit with story-telling and humor with philosophy. A year's stay at a beer-can shaped dormitory (McCormick Hall) just across from the 'Lanche can have a profound effect on one's vision. The Pint Man is very entertaining and hilarious, but after the laughs are done you realize the story has a deeper meaning. The Pint Man is about the friendships and relationships that shape our lives and the spiritual manifestations that bind us together.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Forgetable July 20, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was occasionally amusing and
entertaining but I doubt I will remember much about it a few months from now.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for men in their 30's
Rushin has created characters a typical guy in his mid-thirties can easily spot, whether it's themselves or their friends. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice book - excellent vendor
The book arrived on time and in excellent condition; it appeared brand new, not once-read. I always enjoy Steve Rushin in SI and this story makes "his" NY neighborhood and cozy... Read more
Published on June 10, 2012 by Gary Anderson
4.0 out of 5 stars Beer, words, and love- A nice combination.
I have been a big Steve Rushin fan ever since I discovered his Air and Space column in Sports Illustrated. Read more
Published on December 19, 2011 by P. Wung
4.0 out of 5 stars Home is Where You Draw Your Head
Steve Rushin has written a love story to a bar, or more properly, a right proper pub, or tavern. I kept thinking, while reading this little gem of a novel, of Ray Oldenburg's "The... Read more
Published on December 9, 2010 by Michael Goodell
4.0 out of 5 stars Words CAN express
The whole time reading this book I found myself saying, "I can't believe I'm reading this book!" I grabbed it only because I love pints and there was a picture of one on the cover. Read more
Published on November 6, 2010 by John M. Whitesell
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
To quote the Guinness campaign, "Brilliant!" Clever, funny, moving, and thoughtful. The characters were terrific, including the "character" of the Irish Bar. Read more
Published on September 30, 2010 by P. Britner
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Read
This was a very enjoyable read. The character development of Rodney (the main character) was detailed and gave you a real connection with him. Read more
Published on April 27, 2010 by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Cheap wordplay with a dash of self-pity
The Pint Man, while vaguely interesting in terms of the characters it introduces, falls far short of the glowing reviews on the back cover of the book. Read more
Published on April 6, 2010 by Peter Panning
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