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Ablutions: Notes for a Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, April 8, 2010
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Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Written in an adaptation of the second person epistolary/journal style, the anti-hero documents the comings, goings and exquisite failures of a morose assortment of regulars, irregulars and irremovable denizens of the establishment that almost affords him the opportunity to maintain a subsistence lifestyle. He considers his musings on the idiosyncrasies of the clientele notes for a future novel but what he presents to the reader is the lurid descriptive of societal detritus and he inadvertently places himself at the head of the refuse pile. Slowly, but absolutely not methodically, he begins to realize he is nothing more and quite possibly, much less than the individuals he often ridicules. One cannot help but to feel as though you are an interloper, an unauthorized observer of the progressive descent of an entire class of people. In the ironical humor of the dark underbelly of modern society, there also lies a perverse satisfaction or affirmation of one's own life not being as traumatic as another's; in this book soul after vacant soul is introduced and further decimated.Read more ›
I will say I had a difficult time at the beginning. I found the style to be a little gimmicky, and normally I hate books written in the second person. At the beginning this book was no exception, and I thought about putting it down. What hooked me though were the interesting characters. It was certainly a colorful cast of characters, and with the short length of the book I decided to stick with it. In the end I am happy I did. As I got into the story the second person narrative became background noise unlike many of the other books I have read using this technique. Also what I found gimmicky in the beginning ran its course and the style seemed to mature and smooth out as I read on.
I think anyone who has ever sold booze, and had a tendency towards cynicism and self-destructiveness will be able to relate to this story more than those who have not. It really does something to a person when you see regular customers starting to turn yellow. When a regular lets you know he/she lost their job because they couldn't stay completely sober for eight full hours, and yet here it is your job to keep feeding these people the one thing that is killing them. You're not supposed to tell the guy who no longer has any white in his eyes that maybe he should take a few nights off because he is one of your best customers.Read more ›
Given the major cutbacks among the big publishing houses and the tendency over the past decade or so to go with the promise of commercial success, I am very surprised that this book found a publisher outside the small presses. That isn't a criticism. It's just that the style is somewhat experimental and the author, Partick deWitt's prior publishing credits--three in all--were not exactly in top-tier literary journals.
"Notes for a Novel" is an accurate description of what is mostly vignettes centered around the life of the alcoholic and substance addicted bartender/author working at a well-known but now seedy Hollywood bar. That format along with the second person point of view (you), which I can enjoy in a short pieces but often find tedious in a novel, had me convinced I'd hate this. Instead it managed to draw me in. In fact, I couldn't put it down, despite feeling so grimy I wanted to shower. Scary to think about, but no doubt true that so many people drive our highways with that much booze and narcotics in their systems. And not to give anything away, but I hope the first thing this guy did with his money was visit a good dentist.
I can imagine the author struggling to shape all these notes into a compelling novel, then giving up and deciding to just work at threading them together. The result is something masterful that would have come off rather prosaic had he stuck to a standard form. Ablutions has the potential to become one of those breakout word of mouth novels like A Confederacy of Dunces, only happily the author is still with us to enjoy the praise.
At 163 pages, Ablutions is a one-nighter if you can handle the intensity, but however long you take with it is well worth it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Written from the perspective of 'you' so it's interesting because one wonders, did you really do what 'you' did?Published 5 days ago by Kevin V.
You can't help but like DeWitt's honesty and sense of humor which alleviates the grossness and lunyness of where he takes you. He is a master of keeping your attention. Read morePublished 2 months ago by herb's take
Great writing but the plot hobbles along. Very good characters, thoughPublished 3 months ago by Casey Morgan
I have often thought that my thirty plus years of tending bar would make an interesting book, but after reading this, I realize there is no way I could top this. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Wendy Busby
Loved the other two books but this one had to be put down. Depressing, vulgar, I shouldn't have expected more as the description promised as much. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Windy
This book is a one of a kind look at the bar life from an outstanding writer. Patrick Dewitt is a great story teller. Do not miss this book, buy it while you still can. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Cut The BS