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Ablutions

Cover of Ablutions

Ablutions

From the author of the award-winning The Sisters Brothers comes a dark, boozy, and hilarious tale from the LA underworld.

A nameless barman tends a decaying bar in Hollywood and takes notes for a book about his clientele. Initially, he is morbidly amused by watching the regulars roll in and fall into their nightly oblivion, pitying them and their loneliness. In hopes of uncovering their secrets and motives, he establishes tentative friendships with them. He also knocks back pills indiscriminately and treats himself to gallons of Jameson's. But as his tenure at the bar continues, he begins to lose himself, trapped by addiction and indecision. When his wife leaves him, he embarks on a series of squalidly random sexual encounters and a downward spiral of self-damage and irrational violence. To cleanse himself and save his soul, he attempts to escape . . .

From the author of the award-winning The Sisters Brothers comes a dark, boozy, and hilarious tale from the LA underworld.

A nameless barman tends a decaying bar in Hollywood and takes notes for a book about his clientele. Initially, he is morbidly amused by watching the regulars roll in and fall into their nightly oblivion, pitying them and their loneliness. In hopes of uncovering their secrets and motives, he establishes tentative friendships with them. He also knocks back pills indiscriminately and treats himself to gallons of Jameson's. But as his tenure at the bar continues, he begins to lose himself, trapped by addiction and indecision. When his wife leaves him, he embarks on a series of squalidly random sexual encounters and a downward spiral of self-damage and irrational violence. To cleanse himself and save his soul, he attempts to escape . . .

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About the Author-
  • Patrick deWitt was born on Vancouver Island in 1975. He is the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Sisters Brothers, which won the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and son.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 5, 2009
    Charles Bukowski’s ghost hovers over deWitt’s grim first novel about a bartender at a Hollywood watering hole and its down-and-out regulars. The unnamed bartender’s observations on his co-workers and customers comprise a good chunk of the novel. There’s Simon, the manager, a coke-addled failed actor; Merlin, a freelance life coach in his 70s; the unemployed Curtis, who distributes as tips used electronics from his apartment; Terese and Teri, known as The Teachers, who have slept with all the doormen at the bar; and the former child star for whom oblivion can’t come soon enough. The bartender himself is also a lush, and after losing his wife he embarks on a halfhearted cleanup. When this fails to take, he returns to the bar and plans one last ploy to break free of his increasingly onerous existence. The downward spiral is a hellish descent that seems bottomless, and while the character sketches are fascinating in detail, the plotless ramble can make this relatively short novel feel overlong. Fans of Bukowski and the Fantes, however, won’t mind.

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    House of Anansi Press Inc.
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Ablutions
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