Ablutions: Notes for a Novel

by Patrick Dewitt

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | February 28, 2009 | Hardcover |

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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.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 176 Pages, 5.51 × 7.87 × 0.39 in

Published: February 28, 2009

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0151014981

ISBN - 13: 9780151014989

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– More About This Product –

Ablutions: Notes for a Novel

by Patrick Dewitt

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 176 Pages, 5.51 × 7.87 × 0.39 in

Published: February 28, 2009

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0151014981

ISBN - 13: 9780151014989

About the Book

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.

Read from the Book

Discuss the regulars. They sit in a line like ugly, huddled birds, eyes wet with alcohol. They whisper into their cups and seem to be gloating about something - you will never know what. Some have jobs, children, spouses, cars, and mortgages, while others live with their parents or in transient motels and are on government assistance, a curious balance of classes particular to the parts of Hollywood devoid of klieg lights and make-believe. There are sometimes limousines at the curb out front; other nights feature police cars and ambulances and vicious street scenarios. The bar interior resembles a sunken luxury liner of the early 1900s, mahogany and brass, black-burgundy leather coated in dust and ash. It is impossible to know how many times the ownership has changed hands. The regulars are warm with one another but generally come and go alone and as far as you can tell have never been to one another''s homes. This makes you lonely and the hearts of the world seem cold and stingy and you are reminded of the saying, every man for himself, which as a child made you want to lie down and "be killed." You do not take much stock in the North American definition of the word but you suppose these people are alcoholics. They like you, or anyway are used to you, and they reach out to touch you when you pass as though you are a good-luck gambling charm. You once found this repulsive and would circle the bar with your back hugging the wall rather than move through the network of fleshy r
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From the Publisher

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.

About the Author

Patrick deWitt is also the author of the Booker shortlisted novel The Sisters Brothers. He was born in 1975 on Vancouver Island in British Columbia and has also lived in California, Washington, and Oregon, where he currently resides with his wife and son. He has worked as a laborer, a clerk, a dishwasher, and a bartender. Ablutions is his first novel.

Editorial Reviews

PRAISE FOR ABLUTIONS: ". dark and provocative . deWitt has painted a portrait of the human condition . And ABLUTIONS has achieved something remarkable." -- The New York Times Book Review ". deWitt''s writing is sharp and bitter and funny . " -- Los Angeles Times "DeWitt''s dirty realism makes me want to roll in the mud with him. Brilliant." --Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan "Viciously hilarious . deWitt''s portrayal of the drinking life is staunchly unromantic." -- Time Out New York (Five stars; Book of the day) "These scenes are stunningly depicted . deWitt writes beautifully about ugliness, and his book casts a haunting spell." -- Booklist "DeWitt''s style of prose is refreshing and more like real life speak than most books, without losing the necessary descriptiveness to relay the feel and pure nuttiness of the situation inside the Hollywood bar where the scenes are set." -- About.com " Ablutions is like an intense art-house movie, where the lead actor is in every scene but makes the whole thing sparkle with his star power." -- The Oregonian " Ablutions is funny and precarious, a novel that shifts the ground under the reader''s feet, a naked-lightbulb self-examination that doesn''t shy from high comedy. DeWitt has a gimlet eye and a dead aim with words."-- Luc Sante, author of Low Life "Patrick deWitt''s writing is deeply charismatic -- a coiled ramble of note perfect sentences, mysterious and burbling declarative tones, the saddest humor imaginable, and the strange
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