Go Now

( 2 )


On the road with the Blank Generation, "Go Now" takes readers on a wild trip across the country and into the head of a down-on-his-luck punk musician. ""Go Now" is a vile, scabrous, unforgivable, and deserving of the widest possible audience".--William Gibson.
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On the road with the Blank Generation, "Go Now" takes readers on a wild trip across the country and into the head of a down-on-his-luck punk musician. ""Go Now" is a vile, scabrous, unforgivable, and deserving of the widest possible audience".--William Gibson.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Drug-addicted punk-rocker Billy Mudd is commissioned in 1980-along with his French photographer girlfriend, Chrissa-to drive across country in a 1957 DeSoto looking for America. Things get off to an inauspicious start when Billy, in search of pot, seduces the receptionist at the first motel they stay at, but somehow he and Chrissa reconcile. When Billy's dope supply runs out in Reno, he drinks his way through withdrawal, but upon reaching Denver, he picks up a prearranged package of heroin and is stoned again. An afternoon of explosive sex with Chrissa in the New Mexico desert follows. The relationship fragments, however, and finally breaks down-about the same time as the DeSoto-in Billy's hometown of Lexington, Ky., when Chrissa catches Billy in bed with his aunt. A sexually charged, drug-fueled trip across the country is an unoriginal scenario, one that's mirrored in the too familiar characters here. But Hell, the founder of such proto-punk bands as the Heartbreakers and Television, writes with occasional zest and in an authentic voice. (June)
Library Journal
In his first novel, Hell, an originator of the Punk Rock movement, presents the story of junkie musician Billy and his French girlfriend, Chrissa. Hell's tale contains lots of sex and drugs but not enough rock'n'roll, which is too bad, because the rock'n'roll could have made this book more exciting. Reading about someone mainlining heroin, snorting coke, smoking dope, and raiding a relative's medicine cabinet for Percodan, etc., wears thin even when the narrator is as intelligent, funky, and sex-obsessed as Billy. And though Billy gets it just right when he describes places-as the title implies, Go Now is also a road novel-instead of seeing Nineties America from a rocker's perspective, we just see more of Billy's head. This is not to imply that some of Billy's riffs aren't interesting, or that Hell fails at giving us an inside view of a druggie's existence. But one evenutally tires of run-on sentences describing the depraved life. Recommended only for collections in which this kind of book will elicit interest.-Doris Lynch, Monroe Cty. P.L., Bloomington, Ind,
William Gibson
Go Now is vile, scabrous, unforgiveable, and deserving of the widest possible audience." ?William Gibson, author of Neuromancer "?guided by a ranging, meditative mind, the story becomes an emblem of how we live now. With candor the teller transforms blunders into the only shapely and reliably honorable offering that can be made of such materials: art. ?I was captive shortly after word one?makes Beckett?s despair seem chirpy. ?Billy?s most sordid plunges are rendered in a slit-eyed dryness worthy of Burroughs, but Billy is kin to Kafka and Bartleby, as well? Hell nails the autoerotic urgency of sexual hunger, our ability at the flick of a neuron to find everyone arousing, the landscape morphing into a mirror of our restlessness?" ?Laurie Stone, The Nation "What saves Go Now from becoming a queasy homage to self-indulgence is the clarity and verve of Richard Hell?s writing. ?a splenetic journey that delights in changing lanes from one genre to the next without indicating. Hell slews into the oncoming traffic of Hemingway, Henry Miller, and P.J. O?Rourke, but he has sufficient fury to hold his own. Go Now is a lucid, gritty chronicle that flings muck and questions at the reader in equal measure?" ?Times Literary Supplement "Hell?s brilliant junkie novel, Go Now, is prison writing from the lockup of the head, but unlike the majority of addiction testimony, narrator Billy?s sentences are hammered out of hard-won insights, snaking around your basic pillars of consciousness?loneliness, self-disgust, oblivion, and sex." ?The Village Voice
USA Today
"?real insight and even beauty, not to mention that there?s something perversely fascinating about seeing the depths to which he sinks, resulting in a climax that?s by turns thrilling and sad." ?USA TODAY
Stephanie Zacharek
The big problem with Go Now, the debut novel by legendary punk rocker Richard Hell ("Blank Generation"), is that it wants so badly to be Jim Carroll's Basketball Diaries that its sense of self burns away completely, leaving a trace about as memorable as the brown gunk in the bowl of a junkie's spoon.

The story follows Billy Mud, a burned-out New York musician, heroin addict and sex nut, who's hired by a rich businessman/rock impresario to drive a '57 DeSoto back east from California and to write about the experience. Billy's ex-girlfriend Chrissa will go along, taking pictures to accompany his prose. Billy spends most of the trip trying, halfheartedly and fruitlessly, to straighten out, and he litters the novel with musings that are flung at us like Ding-Dong wrappers from a car window: "I am vertiginous with the outpouring of tainted self-conscious atmosphere from inside me infecting and stripping the exterior, but worse having no effect on it at all."

When the novel lurches into Billy's final act of sexual depravity, we're probably supposed to be shocked and sickened as well as wrung out with compassion for this hopeless soul -- but by that point, we've been so flogged by his raw nerve endings that we can't feel much of anything ourselves. Hell's contribution to punk history is assured; this book just isn't part of it. --Salon

Kirkus Reviews
A punk-rocker of modest renown and a self-styled poet, Hell debuts with a pointless and plotless fiction that lacks either the drug authenticity of a Burroughs or the transgressive aesthetic of an Acker.

A junkie's journal, this clumsily written narrative relies on the thinnest of premises: A punk performer named Billy Mud, kept from recording by a record company dispute, is hired to travel cross-country and set down his impressions while his sometime girlfriend takes photos. Despite empty gestures toward literary predecessors (on Baudelaire: "I identify with him a lot"), Hell, via Mud, mostly poses throughout as a super-studly anti-bourgeois rebel. Mud is so bored (he'd say "full of ennui") with his own story that he takes time to describe the physical dimensions of his notebook. And, of course, he describes the new wardrobe he needs if he's to blend in with the normals. Once on the road—no Kerouac he—he wastes away in motel rooms, planning how to score sex or dope. Luckily, his girlfriend Chrissa is French, so he benefits from the cultural dissonance—i.e., she falls for his tired act. The too- coolly ironic Mud, a self-described "outlaw," detoxes in Reno, but then decides to cop in Denver; he visits his hometown of Lexington, Kentucky, where he and Chrissa bunk with his aunt, whose dirty underwear he sniffs prior to seducing her. When Chrissa catches him with his mother's sister, she catches a plane home: project canceled. Throughout, Mud's stream-of-drug-consciousness writing is laughably incoherent; his observations on drugs equally silly ("Junk is like an orgasm stretched in time"); and his commentary on America revealing of his own limitations ("America feels boring").

As a social critic, Hell sounds more like Paul Simon than Patti Smith. As a writer? Let's just say that rock lyrics aren't poetry, and addled scribbling not a novel.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684832777
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 6/25/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,544,333
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2001

    The Best

    Litterally the best book i have ever read. Hell (Meyers) has out done the world. A tale of a junkie out to write about the world he sees and get payed for it. This book is on my favorite books list for life! And not many books impress me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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