- Paperback: 276 pages
- Publisher: Capricorn Publishing (November 29, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0975397044
- ISBN-13: 978-0975397046
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,945,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Pleasant Hell Paperback – November 29, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
Apart from that, Dolan writes like an angel. There are the plate-techtonic mould-growths covering his never-washed karate-robe (too vivid not to be true); there is the faint patter of falling bullets raining down from the hills (and haven't you always wanted to know, first-hand, what happens to that round fired wildly into the air? And who registers its return to earth?); there is the pseudo-gothic lettering on the love-note written to the most beautiful girl in school (a detail so heartbreaking, so sweet, that the even vapid love object found herself sort of blushing on Dolan's behalf); there is "A huge Buick...snared on the chain link fence, like a seven-gill shark in a tuna net"; and the immortal line, "Blood doesn't really sweep".
The man has chops, but he somehow manages to flaunt them without seeming overly precious.Read more ›
John Dolan is best known for the War Nerd columns he writes under his Gary Brecher pseudonym, the fat, disgruntled data entry clerk from Fresno. And while I love the War Nerd as much as every other marginalized ex-dork, I was also a fan of Dolan's Exile book reviews. It was through Dolan that I not only discovered many of the authors who influenced my writing--Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Charles Portis, Philip K. Dick and more--but I also learned HOW to write. Reading his blistering takedowns of talentless hacks like Jonathan Franzen, James Frey and Thomas Friedman, I got a crash course in literary frankness; avoiding bathos, overwriting, and every other bad habit my English professors tried to instill in me.
So what if Dolan is a jerk? Does the fact that he's not the kind of guy I'd like to have a beer with (whatever that means) somehow invalidate his writing talent? That loathsome mentality is why modern literature is complete garbage. Americans, even supposedly progressive ones, read books the way that fundamentalist Christians do: they evaluate them based solely on whether they're "moral," damn everything else. This infantile impulse is why a con man like Frey can make millions off of blatantly fake memoirs while Dolan himself is reduced to homelessness.
I'm not brownnosing when I say that Pleasant Hell, Dolan's debut novel, is the best one of the 21st century so far, or at least in the top three.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If there were any justice in the world, John Dolan would be considered a modern great. His painfully honest, dark novel, based on a younger version of himself, is hilarious,... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Andrew Mullinder
Imagine "The Catcher in the Rye" (Salinger) for adults...scratch that. Why? Because the mere expounding upon angst, upon that creeping feeling of alienation, of not... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Subterranean Subterfuge
A great read. He's definitely not for everyone (see the negative reviews from people who don't get it) but I personally am a huge fan of Dolan's work, whether he's writing under... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Jack McLoughlin
But I love this book, John Dolan is probably the funniest writer I have ever read, whether here, the eXile, NSFWCorp. or Pandodaily.Published on December 6, 2013 by A.
As a white male from a privileged background myself, I found this book to be especially tiresome and pointless, and stopped reading about 20 pages in. Read morePublished on October 20, 2012 by librosaur
Pleasant Hell was not an easy read for me. It was full of images I knew -as Hunter Thompson's lawyer says and Dolan is so fond of quoting- in my goddamn blood. Read morePublished on March 27, 2012 by Don Gregorio
Amazing. I'll have to read it again before I can really wrap my head around it. That means I'll keep my copy, and buy another to send to a friend who needs to read it... Read morePublished on February 24, 2010 by Blary Fnorgin
I bought this book because I am a fan of the War Nerd. I was disappointed.
The basic idea of a Californian nerd's autobiography is promising enough, and Dolan has... Read more
In the last twenty years I think the bar for what is considered good writing or great writing has been lowered. Read morePublished on July 2, 2008 by F. Tore