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Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memoir Paperback – September 17, 2005
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 Flynns experimentation with narrative styles (one act plays, interviews, stream-of-consciousness) gets only cursory mentiona 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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Chronic alcoholism and homelessness is no joke. Mr. Flynn at least tried to approach it with a tongue-in-cheek attitude which you feel fray as the book wears on. Though his absent dad had really no influence on his upbringing the book shows us how the phrase "like father, like son" is drenched with truth. It's in the blood.
Mr. Flynn chose to put himself in the world his father inhabits and this is the bulk of the book. Casual encounters with his father as his father checks in and out the shelter. Encounters with his father as Flynn checks homeless guys sleeping outdoors. Flynn chose the role of caretaker but probably not in a conscious way.
Alcoholism makes familial relationships all the more complex and reading the book tends to, in a subtle way, highlight this. Again, despite Flynn's father being absent for all his life, the father still has a hold over Flynn which is unexplainable but, if you've been in this situation, you get.
All in all, it's an OK read. The subject matter won't appeal to everyone as it's dark and depressing. Well written but, in my opinion, about a hundred pages too long.
I'll surely add another Nick Flynn title to my wish list and download it eventually.
Here's the thing. It's great that Flynn comes at his subject matter from all different directions and explores different kinds of formal approaches, but there's a little kind of Becketty play in one section about which I liked precisely three things and hated everything else.
The rest of the book? Really fine. Great job not saying things like, "Here's the only reason I did this unsavory thing," or "Here's what a swell guy I am...." In a lot of ways, I feel like I could have given it four stars.