The Pint Man: A Novel Hardcover – Feb 23 2010
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Praise for THE PINT MAN
"An exceedingly enjoyable first novel....it’s Rushin’s narrative voice, guileless, digressive, and ribald, riddled with wordplay and trivia, that makes this such a pleasure.....great company for an evening, with or without a pint at your elbow."--Booklist
"What sets the work apart is Rodney's sharp wit....Rushin emerges as one of the sharpest wits on the scene"--Publishers Weekly
”THE PINT MAN is clever, bracing, and full of laughs. Steve Rushin proves to be a master juggler of words, a mischievous crossword-puzzler run amok.”
--Carl Hiaasen, author of The Downhill Lie and Nature Girl
“I had so much fun reading THE PINT MAN. Rushin can do more tricks with words than Houdini with locks. There's nobody in America like him. I would put him up against Ogden Nash-and spot Nash half the alphabet.”
--Rick Reilly, author of Who’s Your Caddy? and the upcoming Sports From Hell
"Steve Rushin's The Pint Man is a wisecracking, rib-shaking, beer-stained, warm-hearted romp of a novel about a Midtown ne'er-do-well adrift in that elastic period between post-adolescence and manhood. It's the literary equivalent to Happy Hour at some dreamy shambles of an Irish bar: a raucous carnival of laughter, gruff camaraderie, insults, arguments, languishment, romance, more laughter, blurred reflection, big sloppy hugs, and endless rounds of beer. Anyone who's ever fallen head-over-heels in love with a bar will fall just as hard for this book."
--Jonathan Miles, author of Dear American Airlines
“Steve Rushin has written a very funny book that's also unexpectedly deep and poignant. And just so it's clear, I wrote this blurb while completely sober.”
--A.J. Jacobs, author of The Know-it All and The Year of Living Biblically
Praise for Steve Rushin
“His work is imaginative, quirky, and insightful….. it is a pleasure to encounter a writer who seeks out the humanity and humor in competition.”—Booklist
“One of the most agile essayists around.”
– Publishers Weekly
“A real delight"--USA Today
“Rushin can cull a chortle from a cat.” –Denver Post
“Rushin’s wide-ranging cultural references and casually witty writing style appeal to both insiders and outsiders . . . This is modern literature, wearing broken-in sneakers.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
About the Author
STEVE RUSHIN, the author of the nonfiction books Road Swing and The Caddie Was a Reindeer, wrote a beloved weekly column called Air & Space for Sports Illustrated from 1998 to 2007. He and his wife, Rebecca Lobo, live in Connecticut with their three children.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
For laugh-out-loud humor, plot twists, engaging pop culture references, periodic etymological lessons, trivia fodder, and just plain-old mind-blowing wordplay, "The Pint Man" is a bulls-eye.
While, yes, it is a novel, it also serves as an encyclopedia, history lesson, trivia treasure trove, and insightful commentary on a wide range of fronts. And of the many masterfully told scenes here, perhaps my favorite parts involves a guy, and an act, by the name of "Hookslide."
"Rodney has read a book called The Great Good Place, by an urban sociologist named Ray Oldenburg, who coined the phrase "the third place" to describe informal public gathering spaces-bars- that are neither home nor job. Rodney had no work and home was a way station, where he kept his books and his bed. For him, bars were his first. Home was the second. There was no third."
Yes, Boyle's plays a very important role in his life and in this book, but it is not the only thing. He has all those books...
"He kept every book he has ever read. Until there were just too many, he had them all on shelves, their spines displayed as trophies, like the taxidermied heads of big game he had bagged."
And now he has met a smart, beautiful woman, Mairead, "rhymes with parade", who shared his love of wordy banter...oh yes, it may be love!
On the surface, this book is a glimpse into Rodney's life and the love triangle he is caught in, between his bar and this delightful woman he has just met. While that is a fine story, with some very amusing incidents, the real attraction for this reader is Rodney's love of words...palindromes and witty banter, puns and spoonerisms, and endless examples of amusing trivia.
"Some people have a mind like a steel trap. Rodney had a mind like a lint trap. It retained only useless fluff: batting averages, ancient jingles, a slogan glimpsed once, years ago, on the side of a panel van, for an exterminator ("We'll Make Your Ants Say Uncle") or a window treatment specialist ("A Couple of Blind Guys") or a septic tank specialist ("Doody Calls")."
A man who love crossword puzzles and puns, who actually reads books and, most of all, could write an essay on what makes a good pint of Guinness...he may just be the perfect man...lol
While this is Rushin's first novel, he is a very experienced writer. After graduating from college in 1988, he joined the staff of Sports Illustrated, where he was a senior writer until 2007. He has written three previous non-fiction books, including The Caddie Was a Reindeer, which was a semifinalist in 2004 for the Thurber Prize for American Humor. I suspect there is a bit of an autobiographical element to this book, at least in his love of Guinness and banter. I find Mr. Rushin a very amusing writer and I thoroughly enjoyed this wordy romp of a novel.
In this, his first book, Rushin employed his knowledge and passion for words and made words and language the centerpiece of his novel. The premise of the story does not sound promising. A story about an unemployed wordsmith, spending his substantial down time in his favorite bar, enjoying his Guinness and indulging in his word play games with the other denizens of the bar.
The story itself is rather thin and the characters were not all that well developed, except maybe for the main character: Roddy Poole and his love interest Mairead. Everyone else was dealt a short and compact history as well as the necessary accoutrements so that the story moved along at a pace that served the story.
The key to this book is what happens between the character development and the plot evolution: the space between the notes, the time between actions, the bassline of the tune. Rushin filled it up with ruminations and pontifications about words, logic, trivia, and anything else involving the English language. So much so that the conversations became the focus and the reason for reading. The structure of the conversations drew me back, time and again. The discussions of the random facts stand seductively on the pages, where as the usual centerpieces: the characters and the plot became the window dressing. It is a bravura performance of the usage of the English language while in an alcohol soaked environment.
I actually liked the book, a lot. The romance portion of the plot was sweet and vulnerable but the defining theme was a bit thin, but I didn't really care because the word, ah the words were so abundant, rich, and savory that I didn't much care about anything else. Well, actually I did care about the little romance. In the end Roddy Poole did end up getting his Rebecca Lobo. Just like in real life.
Rushin displays a delightful felicity for the English language. On almost every page he casts another pearl, leaving it up to the reader to determine how swinish he or she wants to be. Rodney is a good Irish Catholic, which means he goes to church occasionally when he is sober. His church is St. Brendan's. "He liked St. Brendan's for the same reasons he liked Boyle's (Rodney's local): the singing, the alcohol, the frequent invocations of the Lord's name."
That gives you a taste for the thing. It helps if you've ever fallen in love with a bar, but it's not necessary. You do need to understand how much fun it is to frolic in a field of words, though. Take, for example, a passage taken almost at random, "Tony suburbs. Whenever Rodney saw that cliche in a newspaper story about a place like the North Shore, he imagined a barbecue-aproned mafioso with that name: Tony suburbs. They could have called Tony Soprano that."
If you don't want to roll around in that selection of words, this book probably isn't for you. If it makes you nod your head in appreciation, then game on. You are guaranteed to chuckle, laugh, chortle and even giggle from time to time, and that's just from the word play. Who cares about the plot?
Actually, in kind of a departure for this sort of book, "The Pint Man" actually has a pretty good plot, which holds together right up until the end. Good on you, Steve Rushin.