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Another Bullshit Night in Suck City [Paperback]

Nick Flynn
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

17 Feb 2005

Nick Flynn met his father when he was twenty-seven years old, working as a caseworker in a homeless shelter in Boston. As a teenager he'd received letters from this mystery father - self-proclaimed poet (and greatest American novelist since Mark Twain), descendant of the Romanov dynasty, alcoholic, and con-man doing time for bank robbery - but there had been no contact. Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (a phrase Flynn senior uses to describe his life on the streets) tells the story of the eerie trajectory that led Nick and his father into that homeless shelter, onto those streets, and finally to each other.

With a raw authenticity, telling honesty and a dark but necessary humour, Nick Flynn's memoir breathes new life and vigour into the form. In passionate and playful prose Another Bullshit Night in Suck City illuminates the emotional and physical consequences of a relationship between father and son that exists, if at all, in a void.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New Ed edition (17 Feb 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571214088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571214082
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 226,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"'What a piece of work. I don't usually like memoirs, but if they were all like Nick Flynn's - eloquent, funny, unsentimental, and bravely inventive - I'd read them by the truckload.' Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River; 'No one who reads Another Bullshit Night will ever walk through a city in the same way again.' Michael Cunningham"

About the Author

Nick Flynn is the author of two collections of poetry, Blind Huber and Some Ether, and the acclaimed work of non-fiction, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. In another life he worked as an electrician, a ship's captain, and as an educator in New York City public schools. His words have appeared over the years in The New Yorker, The Nation, Fence, The New York Times Book Review and The Paris Review. His most recent work, the memoir, The Ticking is the Bomb was published by Faber in 2009. One semester a year he teaches at the University of Houston, and then he spends the rest of the year elsewhere.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Excellent... 18 April 2005
Format:Paperback
This is a great "guy" book -- I don't know how women would like it. But it's basically a memoir and a recounting of a father/son relationship. Of course, it's also the story of the author's somewhat difficult coming-of-age.
What makes it so enjoyable is the writing, which is truly excellent. I hate to use the word "poetic" because it might turn some people off - and I don't mean to imply "arty" or "vague" - but there is definitely something lyrical about how the author recalls incidents of his boyhood.
Let me put it this way: the writing is intense. It's concrete, tight, simple -- the prose of an author who is also a poet. But please understand it isn't flowery or flighty. It's very focused work. Substantial.
Also, I appreciate the short chapters, and frequent paragraph breaks which make it very easy to take. Some people have called this memoir depressing. It's not. Besides being a father/son relationship, it's also the story a "failed" writer: the author's father wanted to be a great American author but ended up as a self-deceiving drunk. This is life. For me, the book is realistic without being too grim.
More importantly, it's a book about survival -- the son's survival to adulthood. As a memoir, I found this book to be much better than A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius because it's lot more focused and "compressed" and not so full of self-conscious "irony." Anyway, pick up a copy this great book. Another book I need to recommend is called The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition by Richard Perez, a much lighter book -- but a very substantial, enjoyable and fun read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This book is a brilliant analysis of a failed father/son relationship, and the unconventional success of the son based on his own drive and determination. An interesting read for any father or son, and particularly for one in a difficult father/son relationship. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An emotionally true experience 4 Mar 2012
By R. A. Davison TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Another Bull**** Night In Suck City attracted my attention when I saw the trailer for the film based upon it Being Flynn starring Paul Dano and Robert De Niro.

The novel is a memoir of father and son, the impact growing up without a father had upon Nick Flynn as a boy and the complex psychological reaction and range of emotions Nick is put through when his absent father suddenly becomes a present client at the homeless shelter at which he works.

This book has a completely unique story to tell, I have not read a story like the situation Nick Flynn is faced with before. His father Jonathan, as described by him reminded me immensely of Joe Gould from the Joseph Mitchell portrait of the homeless character on New York's streets.

Jonathan similarly is full of grandiose beliefs and claims, including being related to the inventors of various things, and being descended from the Romanov dynasty. A failed writer he is racist, conceited, bombastic and rude, you pity Nick Flynn completely for having to deal with this man, for having to have his colleagues, friends and girlfriend know his father for what he is.

But, Another Bull**** Night In Suck City rises entirely above the plethora of "my awful childhood" books that dominate supermarket shelves because it is wonderfully written and literary in style. I empathised with Nick strongly throughout, like when he tends to homeless men in the street, gives them food and blankets and does not know if the man in the next doorway will be his own Dad. Or when from inside his house he spies his father alone, walking, and is guilt-ridden for not inviting him in but knows for the sake of sheer self preservation he cannot.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really did enjoy this memoir, Flynn's writing is, for the most part, well paced and evocative. However, it is not a novel and is almost totally lacking in structure or drive as throughout the bulk of the book Flynn is not actively interested in his father (or his own life) and is merely drifting from one place to the next. It is a testimony to the quality of Flynn's prose that he managed to make this a compelling read.

However, there is a general numbness to the tone of the book and its pace dips quite severely at around section 5 as it takes on a slightly inventorial nature. Here we get a lot of stuff that feels like padding, fictional scenes with Flynn's dad as Santa and a few conversations presented in play format that didn't work for me at all. I think Flynn has put them there to inject some life into the drabness that eclipses this section of the memoir; yet they served to slow it down even further.

Nonetheless, this is a case in which perseverance paid off as the final section of the book regains the energy that is integral to the rest of the book and we are left with a clear picture of just how muddy and complicated the relationship between father and son can be. Sometimes beautiful, often ugly and unpleasant but a brilliant read.
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1.0 out of 5 stars worst read for a long time 17 Sep 2014
Format:Paperback
quick delivery, but the book was less than engaging, worst read for a long time....avoid
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