- Audio CD: 6 pages
- Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks; Unabridged Audiobook 6 CDs edition (1 Mar. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1407498150
- ISBN-13: 978-1407498157
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.5 x 13.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,751,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Ablutions (Unabridged Audiobook) Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged
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Quite brilliant... a brief, intense and carefully sustained piece of writing about the blurry edges of existence. --The Guardian
`DeWitt conjures up moments of both painful humour and tender beauty'- Financial Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Like most people I came to deWitt after reading his excellent Booker-nominated western "The Sisters Brothers" about a pair of bounty hunters in the old West on the trail of one of their targets. It's an excellent book which I highly recommend and led me to seek out this, his only other published novel (so far). "Ablutions" is a completely different book to "The Sisters Brothers"; where "Sisters" was a fast-paced first person narrative that read like an intelligent thriller, "Ablutions" is without a plot, told in the second person by a consistently drunk narrator, his attention reeling from one character in the bar to another seemingly at random and without any direction.
And yet "Ablutions" is still a hypnotic read. Maybe it's the character portraits of the broken lives that litter the bar. There is a drug- addled manager, an alcoholic former child actor, two slutty drunken school teachers, a wannabe artist and a dealer, as well as corrupt bar owners and the despicable narrator. The setup is that the narrator wants to be a novelist who gets work as a bar back because he feels he will meet a number of interesting people with stories he can exploit by putting them in his novel.Read more ›
You find yourself in a bar, somewhere in America. Probably Los Angeles. You aren't quite clear where. You view the world through an alcoholic haze, drinking free Jameson's Irish Whiskey in a bar where few people seem to pay for their drinks. You are pouring the drinks even though, it seems, you are not the barman.
Discuss the customers. They include a child TV star who has fallen for the drink. There's a coke dealer. There are teachers. There's a psychic. There are hookers. Plus there are the doormen, the South African bar manager and a wannabe film director. In fact, it seems you're the only one who has never had ambitions in Hollywood. You're just living for the next drink or the next hit of coke.
Your story is barely coherent. Mostly just fragments and snippets that might fall together into a plot, if only your life actually had a plot. Of course there is some element of continuity, it's just you can't find the direction.
You've got to like second person narration - a device which is irritating at best. You've got to just stick with things, however they go. You've got to appreciate the atmosphere even if the story and characterisation are a bit thin. Then, and only then, are you going to get something from Ablutions. Otherwise you'll find it a depressing, repetitive and dull affair.
In an inventive second-person narrative voice, we see the regular drunks and drinkers of a small-time LA bar through the eyes of our bartender. There isn't much to like- but that's kind of the point. It's like peering into an abyss of addiction, inebriation and it's a heady, intoxicating view. deWitt serves up a murky cocktail.
The characters in this novel sink pretty low- there's drug addiction, drug dealing, prostitution, sex, sleaze, violence- you really become mired in their world. But ultimately, you get to leave them behind at the end.
Redolent of Bukowski, 'Ablutions' really lifts up a stone and peers at the darkness, and loneliness of city life whilst peeling away the complexities of addiction. Weakness, freedom, waste, want- they're all here.
Tragic, abhorrent, despicable- and yet, it's an engaging page-turner that I couldn't put down. You will feel like you need a good wash when you've finished.
I will be intrigued to see what Patrick deWitt writes next.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great, very sobering. My only criticism is that it was too short !Published 6 months ago by Michelle
This started off very well, especially seeing as it is written in the second person, but I felt my enthusiasm draining page by page for the last third. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very convincing "doings" akin to cat "mess". Totally convinced my parents, girlfriend and kids. Everyone now regards the pet cat (Bertie) with great suspicion and caution.Published 11 months ago by Bertie
The story is great, the overall condition of the book was deplorable, covered in glue and some black stuff, pages mangled.Published 11 months ago by clarkie