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The Ticking Is the Bomb


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About the Author

Nick Flynn is the author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, winner of the PEN/Martha Albrand Award, The Ticking Is the Bomb, and The Reenactments. He divides his time between Houston and Brooklyn.


Award-winning poet/author Flynn (Another Bullshit Night in Suck City) uses his daughter's imminent birth as a springboard to examine personal and political shakiness. Flynn jumps back and forth in covering his rocky childhood (his parents: a distraught, hard-living single mother; an ex-con, mentally wrecked father who was largely absent from Flynn's childhood), his struggles with women and sobriety, and adjusting to his daughter's arrival. Throughout this swirl of heartache and introspection, Flynn becomes obsessed with torture and America's acceptance of it after the infamous photos from Abu Ghraib are released. It's clear that Flynn is lost in his own life, and that he needs to find himself, or at least some stability, not just for his daughter's benefit but for his own. The accompanying narrative structure may isolate those who prefer a more straight-ahead style-the poetic interludes and scattered focus are sometimes more distracting than artistic-but Flynn's life is so volcanic and his writing style so kinetic and punchy that others will be drawn into this gripping personal narrative. (Jan.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

"[Flynn's] search for the meaning of fatherhood in the era of terror is remarkable not only for the nimbleness with which he pulls these threads together-observations of former prisoners are woven with meditations on loss-but also for its empathy and unshrinking honesty." -- Elissa Schappell - Vanity Fair "What does it mean that America tortures? ... This is the question that haunts Nick Flynn's devastating new book ... the best passages here are simply astonishing. Flynn writes with great tenderness about the terrors and joys of fatherhood ... a disquieting masterpiece." -- Steve Almond - Los Angeles Times "[Flynn's] efforts to reconcile the tattered pieces of his life-his determination to find love and redemption in a world gone mad-feel gutsy, hard won, and utterly true." -- Time Out New York

In this "memoir of bewilderment," Flynn embarks on a Dantesque midlife crisis "alone in a dark wood having lost the way." This follow-up to Another Bullshit Night in Suck City reads like poetry, each chapter a self-contained meditation. Flynn jumps back and forth among the seemingly unrelated topics that consumed him at the time: impending fatherhood, his relationships with two women, his mother's suicide, and the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. All converge into a somewhat disjointed account of a disjointed period, in which the parts are greater than the whole. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/09.]-Lauren Gilbert, Cold Spring Harbor Lib. & Environmental Ctr., NY Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

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