- Taschenbuch: 224 Seiten
- Verlag: Granta Books (7. Januar 2010)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1847081371
- ISBN-13: 978-1847081377
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12,9 x 1,4 x 19,8 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 2 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 2.540.086 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Ablutions (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 7. Januar 2010
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Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Patrick DeWitt's writing has appeared in several US magazines and anthologies, where it has been singled out for praise by critics (see sales points). He once worked as a barman in Hollywood. He now lives with his wife and son in Portland, Oregon in the USA
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It chronicles the sorry life of the bar's clients as seen by this married, tall and skinny white man who serves as a bar back. During his six-year career he has begun to hallucinate, but always manages to drive home drunk in his ancient, magical Ford under the radar of the police. His drink of choice is Jameson's.
The inside of his mouth bleeds sometimes, he has lost dental chips and once an entire molar while talking to the bar owner's wife (he swallowed it). Apart from indulging in Irish whiskey, he uses speed and has blind faith in the healing powers of massive doses of aspirin. As a married alcoholic, he is an expert in silent early-morning vomiting.
When did this book take place? Sometime during the GW Bush era. The earning model of this bar is intriguing. No limits on drinking for staff? Lots of free drinks for awful regulars? Doormen with a clientele of lowlifes? And the price of drinks is awesome... Live and learn about America.
"Ablutions" is a short, but eminently re-readable novel. It contains lots of self-inflicted and suddenly-occurring bits of drama, some quite ugly and repellent. It has a surprise ending. And there is another PdW novel out called "The Sister Brothers". Hope the brothers are less repellent and the book more convincing.
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I picked up Ablutions: Notes for a Novel based largely off of my love for Patrick DeWitt’s second novel, The Sisters Brothers, an offbeat Western written with exquisite craft, a wry sense of humor, and a beautifully realized tone that recalled the great True Grit by Charles Portis. Ablutions is DeWitt’s first novel, and it shows; it lacks the narrative thrust that kept The Sisters Brothers moving, feeling more like a series of character sketches and moments than it ever does a true novel. What it has, though, is DeWitt’s superb writing, keeping you reading for the way he crafts a phrase and considers the emotional heft and impact of every word.
In some ways, in fact, the episodic nature of the book only helps the writing to soar all the more. Narrated by a nameless bartender in a seedy bar on the outskirts of Hollywood, Ablutions is a cavalcade of broken souls – alcoholics, junkies, has-beens, never-was’es – and that might include our narrator as well. The book takes the form of fragmentary observations and anecdotes, often introduced with the reminder “Discuss”. But what that fragmentary nature robs of narrative pleasure, it adds in the ability to find the profound moments of everyday life, such as this knockout observation with one patron:
“He drinks double vodka tonics from the well and becomes animated when describing a stunt or special effect from the latest Hollywood blockbuster. When he insists you see these movies you tell him you do not like the genre and he asks what other kinds there are and you say there are the slow ones and foreign ones and your personal favorites, the sad ones, and he blinks and says that there are two types of people: Those who want to cry, and those who are crying already and want to stop.”
And even when not finding beautifully realized moments, DeWitt’s prose has a way of getting to emotional truths in a haunting way, from the moment of crushing pain I opened this review with to this aftermath of a misbegotten night together between two lost souls:
“Now she is crying and you are shivering and it is time to go home and if you had a watch you would snap your wrist to look meaningfully at it but she dabs at her face and says she wants you to come upstairs and share a special-occasion bottle of very old and expensive wine and as there is no way not to do this you follow her through the dusty lobby and into the lurching, diamond-gated elevator and into her cluttered apartment to scrutinize her furnishings and unread or improperly read paperbacks, and you wonder if there is anything more depressing than the habitats of young people, young and rudderless women in particular.”
Yes, DeWitt’s prose is beautiful, and more than equal to the offbeat, haunting narration of The Sisters Brothers. But for all of that, Ablutions often feels more like an exercise than a true novel, and a sometimes tedious exercise at that. It’s a portrait of addicts and broken souls, and that’s a story a lot of authors have done, and DeWitt doesn’t bring much new to the table apart from his writing. How much you enjoy Ablutions will, then, entirely hinge on your ability to savor DeWitt’s writing and the way he uses his prose to craft emotions out of the unlikeliest situations. It’s a book for those who love language, in other words, and others may be less likely to appreciate it. If you’re in that camp, I can’t recommend highly enough The Sisters Brothers, which is everything I like about Ablutions and more. But for those who enjoy writing as a way to create sketches that add up to something more, there’s something beautiful about Ablutions that I liked far more than the sum of its parts.
The narrator is a witty but unsympathetic observer, an alcoholic addict (who has perfected the art of vomiting silently so his wife can't hear him) surrounded by sad alcoholic addicts. He strives for redemption and the ending, naturally, hints at this; but he seems to lack any type of moral structure in his life. He is an ethical egoist - concerned only with actions that would benefit himself. The only reason he wants to quit his addictions is because he knows he's killing himself. Frankly I'm not sure that what he does at the end of the novel will be any sort of helpful ablution. This guy is troubled.
In spite of this the characters in the book are likable, the narrative is funny, and the writing is impressive. I will definitely be looking forward to more novels from this writer.
The protagonist is literally taking a dump on his life. Beyond comically absurd, this book careens wildly into a sort of obsessive morbidity. If you could imagine someone resolutely eating themselves to death, forkful after forkful after overflowing vile forkful, this book is a window into that person's mind (and life) but without any of the pleasure you might expect to pop up from time to time. The protagonist's disdain for life and joy is evident in the grinding torture he makes of even ostensibly pleasurable pursuits.
I enjoyed it, but ... uhm ... yeah ... you might not. Be cautioned.