Synopses & Reviews
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.
"…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
"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
"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
On its way to becoming a cult classic, Ablutions is the much-acclaimed debut of a literary star in the making. In a famous but declining Hollywood bar, there works a barman. Morbidly amused by the decadent decay of his surroundings, he establishes tentative friendships with variously pathological regulars, all the while making notes for his novel. But as his tenure at the bar continues, he begins to serve himself more often than his customers. His damaged life begins to unravel completely. He loses his wife, his way, himself. Trapped by his habits and his loneliness, he hatches a terrible plan of escape, his only chance for redemption. Patrick deWitt's stunning debut novel has been compared to the work of Charles Bukowski, Denis Johnson, and Hunter S. Thompson. It is funny and horrifying and beautiful and honest. It is a marvel” (L.A.Weekly), the kind of book whose dirty realism” makes Gary Shteyngart want to roll in the mud with” the author. Ablutions is destined to be a backlist favorite for many years.
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.