Notes for A Novel

Book - 2009
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In a famous but declining Hollywood bar works A Barman. Morbidly amused by the decadent decay of his surroundings, he watches the patrons fall into their nightly oblivion, making notes for his novel. In the hope of uncovering their secrets and motives, he establishes tentative friendships with the cast of variously pathological regulars.

But as his tenure at the bar continues, he begins to serve himself more often than his customers, and the moments he lives outside the bar become more and more painful: he loses his wife, his way, himself. Trapped by his habits and his loneliness, he realizes he will not survive if he doesn't break free. And so he hatches a terrible, necessary plan of escape and his only chance for redemption.

Step into Ablutions and step behind the bar, below rock bottom, and beyond the everyday take on storytelling for a brilliant, new twist on the classic tale of addiction and its consequences.

Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.
ISBN: 9780151014989
Characteristics: 164 p. ;,22 cm.


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Jul 05, 2016

The subtitle, "Notes for a Novel", summarizes this for me. Lazy publishing, a good editor should have appealed to the writer to use the notes and write the actual novel.

Mar 15, 2016

I agree with clarencedavis' comment below. The plot of this book isn't as good as Sisters Brothers, but the writing was great.

For me, it was similar to Undermajordomo in that I wasn't really attached to the story, but I loved Dewitt's writing.

Dec 23, 2015

Think of Bukowski mixed with Bret Easton Ellis, then shaken and stirred and inked on a series of pages. If this notion appeals to you, then this novel could be for you.
Mind you, this novel is nothing at all like The Sisters Brothers. I gave this one 3 stars which was primarily for the writing alone.

Apr 10, 2015

I loved The Sisters Brothers so I was eager to read something else by Patrick DeWitt, but this story got tiresome as the characters circled the drain. I finally gave up. But read The Sisters Brothers!

Apr 09, 2014

This portrayal of alcoholism has been done before. The ending does not ring true. Barfly as book.

jennrose Jan 22, 2014

GREAT READ! Fans of Bukowski will love this, although it is darker than Bukowski. It is both a fast and literary read. I implore those who enjoy this book to also see Terry, a wonderful indie film that DeWitt wrote the screenplay for. It's fantastic as is this book.

Nov 05, 2013

Wow, the writing is so gritty and raw, as you take a look into a want-a-be writer who loses himself to alcohol, drugs, his marriage and self-worth. The way the novel is written as a writer to himself as he puts ideas together, where his explanations are sometimes funny in a truthful manner. Definitely not for the faint of heart when you read about his situations he finds himself in at times. Short and easy read.

joyhuebert Feb 09, 2012

wow, is this ever a good book. De Witt is a major genius in his first novel as he tells the story of a bartender who describes his alcoholic clients and then falls apart himself. A very satisfying conclusion.

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