Ablutions by Patrick deWitt

Ablutions

Patrick deWitt

Loaded with blood, vomit, violence and bad sex this second person narrative introduces us to the alcoholic bartender of a tatty Hollywood bar. Detailed character studies catalogue the idiosyncracies of a series of misfits who frequent the bar while shedding light on the personal problems of bartender too. This purposefully ugly story dives into the world and mind of an addict, laying out all the horrors with unflinching honesty and grim humour.

Extract

You are a trained silent vomiter. You do not sigh, you do not moan, you do not breathe heavily, you vomit on the porcelain of the toilet rather than in the toilet water, and as far as your wife knows you have never once vomited in all your time together. This skill was not developed overnight and you are annoyed that you will never be able to share it with others, and you wonder if you wouldn't benefit from having a best friend. But wouldn't he then want to share his talents with you? And is this perhaps all that best friends do? Sit around discussing their talents? You are not interested in the talents of others and you decide you must be cautious about whom you let into your life.

Parallels
  • Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski
  • The Seven Days of Peter Crumb by Jonny Glynn

Bad luck and trouble