Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Nog” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  413 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews

Originally published by Random House in 1969, Nog became a universally revered cult novel and a symbol of the countercultural movement.

In Rudolph Wurlitzer's signature hypnotic and haunting voice, Nog tells the tale of a man adrift in the American West, armed with nothing more than his own three pencil-thin memories and an octopus in a bathysphere.

This edition of Nog featu

Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 7th 1996 by Serpent's Tail (first published 1968)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Nog, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Nog

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nate D
Jan 13, 2012 Nate D rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: three memories seeking a fourth
Recommended to Nate D by: an octopus in a bathysphere
A kind of drug-haze western, Nog follows a man with only a few closely-guarded and regularly re-constructed memories as he wanders 60s California and the south-west with little purpose or direction. While we're privy to his inner-most thoughts, they don't ammount to much, mostly a kind of aphasic babble on his own existence, linked to seemingly completely arbitrary courses of action. A lot of what is unique in the prose and construction here turns up again in Wurlitzer's next two novels, but whe ...more
Sep 05, 2015 Shan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

'Welcome then, all the influx of vigor and real tenderness. And, in the dawn, armed with an ardent patience, we shall enter magnificant cities.’
-Arthur Rimbaud

“Rudy Wurlitzer,” his mama must have shouted, “you stay
away from those big blue mushrooms down by the jukeyard!” He mustn’t have heard because his novel Nog is one helluva trip. Strange one, this Rudy Wurlitzer, descended from a long line of music machine magicians, of Rudolph Wurlitzer Company fame, young Rud
Chris Shaffer
Feb 16, 2009 Chris Shaffer rated it really liked it
Although lacking plot and a strong sense of cohesiveness, Nog is the kind of story that manages to do what very few books I have ever read are able to do. While reading you are at once confused and clear sighted, yet this is the effect the book is supposed to have--an effect that eventually becomes hallucinatory and painfully real.

I think what Wurlitzer is doing here is trying to capture the anxieties, the existential hangups, and the general atmosphere of what is was like to be alive in the la
Mar 18, 2010 Tait rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature, american
If I had to choose two novels as character studies of the '60s counterculture, one would be Kotzwinkle's The Fan Man, a playful romp through drug-addeld New York. The second and much darker of the two would be Wurlitzer's Nog. Set across the beaches, backwoods, crashpads, and communes of California, this tentative story follows the moment to moment desperations of a Manson-like wanderer, who either stole his identity or is trying to not remember it and his previous crimes as he bums around the s ...more
Javier Avilés
Mar 09, 2017 Javier Avilés rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La edición de Underwood con traducción de Rubén Martín Giraldez

La verdad es que me siento muy identificado con la forma de escribir de Wurlitzer, muy cercano a sus métodos. Si tengo que ser sincero hay mucho de Wurlitzer en mis novelas, aunque nunca lo había leído. Al igual que ocurrió con La hora del lobo de Bergman, debo reconocer la influencia fantasma de Nog en Constatación brutal del presente.
¿Cómo es posible que me influyan obras que no he leído ni visto?
Volviendo a Nog (y teniendo en cu
Francisco H. González
He leído o creo haber leído Nog.

La prosa que se gasta Rudolph Wurlitzer es del mismo pelo que la de Erickson en Días entre estaciones, que me horripiló. Como hacía Erickson, Wurlitzer cuando no sabe qué hacer con sus personajes los pone a follar o él se saca la polla y ella se la come. Sí amigos placer licuante a tope.

Lo demás resulta caótico, errabundo, un chapurreo donde un fulano divaga, delira, fantasea, recuerda, borra sus recuerdos, los reconstruye, mientras recorre Estados Unidos con sus
Charlie Zoops
Jun 04, 2012 Charlie Zoops rated it liked it
Nog is a story of a man coming in terms with his hallucinogenic consciousness roaming between uncertainty and devotion. Charged by a self-chasing pursuit, the narrative strives to de-construct the identity of characters while progressively ridding memories of their evidence. By taking on the aesthetics of a neglected western American landscape, the vivid acts of moving his body through this terrain becomes more of a process than a purpose. In an era of ambiguity and indifference, a nomad finds a ...more
Jan 16, 2010 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
For a story of such creepy events, it's eerie and maybe even refreshing how deadpan the narrator is. This could have been told in overblown, psychedelic style, but stripping away that artifice pares the story down to essentials of action and inaction, and resists making particular meanings out of events or images. That's also what kept me from being completely engaged, though: as much as I liked the wide-open landscape the story drifts through, and the way every character is as hard-edged and gr ...more
Sep 08, 2009 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
Whoa. Truly nutso in so many ways. But really, what Pynchon says is true. Ain't no bullcrap here. Just pure hallucination. But more of the honest kind than the "whoa, far out man" kind. It's like the gritty, hyper-real (non-baudrillard) mystery novels that have become so popular recently but instead of distilling anger, child molestation and waterways in Boston, it's like the things that the psyche fears the most. Including being locked in a pantry with lots of potatoes.
Apr 13, 2009 Mike rated it really liked it
I would recommend this book to everyone who knows they think way different than everyone else. And to people that can understand that one thing can BE different than what it IS. It's difficult to read and most the time you're thinking in your head "What the hell is this guy ON?".
My favorite character is the crazy old man Nog meets in the beginning. He's a very brief character and all you know about him is that he's a crazy old war veteran. Idk why I like him so much, but I do.
My least favorite c
A quick data search through the current books added to my goodreads account yields the following:
[Wurlitzer, Rudolph] (obviously)
Fannie + Freddie The Sentimentality of Post-9 11 Pornography
Beaver Street A History of Modern Pornography
Direct Action An Ethnography
Donoghue, Emma: The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits Stories & Kissing the Witch Old Tales in New Skins
Fiction International 22 Pornography and Censorship
Memoirs of a Shy Pornographer

Given that those titles are a cromulent summary of
Mar 17, 2012 Meagan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I probably came into this book with unrealistically high expectations. I love Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Liked Two Lane Blacktop a whole darn lot, though Vanishing Point is my favorite existential automotive 70s movie. And I'd heard that this book was mindblowingly amazing. But, except for a few brief flickers, I couldn't really hook into the main character at all. Which is I guess the point. But it was hard to relate to a character with no center. Or a character with a center but no edges. ...more
Aug 01, 2009 Oriana marked it as to-read
Oooh, this sounds terrif.

From the review: Reading Nog is akin to reading other counterculture books of the era, particularly the works of Richard Brautigan . Both writers have (or in Brautigan's case had) a gift for finding the mundane rapturous and for exploring the human condition in the simplest terms possible, free from highbrow language, but rich with nuance. Also the two writers have a gift for composing a world that is at once recognizable, yet somehow estranged from reality.
Thomas Pynchon had this to say about Nog in 1969:

"Wow, this is some book, I mean it's more than a beautiful and heavy trip, it's also very important in an evolutionary way, showing us directions we could be moving in--hopefully another sign that the Novel of Bullshit is dead and some kind of re-enlightenment is beginning to arrive, to take hold. Rudolph Wurlitzer is really, really good, and I hope he manages to come down again soon, long enough anyhow to guide us on another one like Nog."
Nov 08, 2011 alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wurlitzer really nogged my head up.

This novel places the reader so authentically within an unscrewed mind that putting it down actually left me feeling disoriented at times.

The psychedelic cover and massive Pynchon nod (nog?) thereon caught my attention, but I was actually surprised how compelling I found this one.

It loses a star for misogynistic aspects that would've turned me away entirely were it a lesser work.
Jan 16, 2010 J.A. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to love this book but kept getting caught in it, like a net whose beauty I was mesmerized by but whose limbs I was tangled in, which I suppose could be good, but felt instead bad, sticky, gummed. I loved Drop Edge though, and have other Wurlitzer's on the shelf that I'm still excited to dig into.
Sep 12, 2008 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
They don't call it a "headventure" on the cover for nothing. A far out, insider's experiential take on late 60's drug culture like no other. Where the Electric Kool Aid Acid Test documents psychedelic culture from the outside, Nog testifies from inside the brain while on a large dose.
Aug 25, 2009 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once you get the rhythm down, this book fucking reads itself.
John Matthews
Mar 15, 2017 John Matthews rated it it was ok
While I didn’t enjoy this dark and disorienting book, I’m glad it exists.

It’s not because Rudolph Wurlitzer can’t write well that I didn’t enjoy it. There are passages in this book that contain coherent and sustained dialog that prove he can write proficiently. For most of the book however, he chooses not to, probably because Nog is not designed to be pleasurable or fully comprehensible.

Here is a world seen through opaque glass, heard as if from a passing car, and felt through what is probably
Jan 16, 2013 Jay rated it liked it
Shelves: wtf-s
How could I have forgotten this book? Easy - it was mediocre. On a scale of 1 to 10 for bizarre, this is an 11. I give it three "stars" because there's no accounting for taste. Don't worry: there aren't any "spoilers" in this review. So... where to begin?

Start with Donald Barthelme, add the more benign elements of William S. Burroughs, throw in some endless, tape loop narrative of Alaine Robbe-Grillet (where the same scene and dialog endlessly repeat themselves as in *Project for a Revolution i
May 13, 2016 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rudy Wurlitzer is often compared to Samuel Beckett, and the comparison is unmistakably apt. If his second novel, Flats, seemed consciously to pay homage to Beckett's plays, his first novel is more indebted to the actual novels (especially Molloy). Wurlitzer, like Becket (the novelist), is here focused on consciousness. Bent, damaged, imperiled consciousness; consciousness too frantic and weakened to make much headway w/ what it confronts in the world unfurling before it, often at great speed (es ...more
Nov 10, 2014 Josh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a head scratcher. Following the traditions of Thomas Pynchon, Jerzy Kosinski, Richard Fariña and even Ken Kesey and Tom Wolfe, this short novel is a trip and a half. Albeit an enjoyable one. It feels very 1960s. Drugs, sex, rampant illegal activity and the possibility that you are actually not there. Don't ask for a plot description, you won't get one. And good luck finding this book as it has been out of print for a while. But if you do get ahold of a copy, read it. You will be getting an ...more
Owain Lewis
Interesting read and it fairly rollocks along for a novel that has no discernible plot - who needs plot anyway? Some of the blurb likens it to the the work of Samuel Beckett but having not yet read any I couldn't say. I think what Wurlitzer - a practicing Buddhist to this day - was trying to do was explore the darker side of some of the spiritual guff, particularly the idea of ego death and the misinterpretation of no-self, floating around in this period. The shifting identity and fractured memo ...more
Matthew Martens
Nov 14, 2012 Matthew Martens rated it it was amazing
Nog never made it out of the park. If I remember correctly, he drowned in two feet of water. But then he only ever comprised four limbs of a fake octopus. There's more where that came from. Nog was also an apparently real and provisionally timeless novel about a man losing a very tenuous hold on his cool, and the adventures in the West Coast counterculture of the late 1960s that result. The relationship may not be that causal. The writing is typically compared to Beckett, and that's perfectly re ...more
H R Koelling
Sep 11, 2009 H R Koelling rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I'm too old and ornery for this type of book anymore, but I couldn't even finish it. It's too bleak and too depressing for me to read. I used to love books about travel and being lost and the discovery of the innermost working of one's own mind, but I guess I'm just getting too old and crotchety. I think if I had read this book in the earlier years of my life I would have really loved it.

It is well written and very insightful if you want to read a Beat-esque type of book that isn't, perhap
Jul 25, 2011 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Written back in the psychedelic era, this made for interesting adolescent reading. Re-reading it, it seems to have some elements of the more adult "subculture" of the time, what with rampant promiscuity, swinger-swapping, and straightforward stoner-referencing. But I might have been happy just as well leaving it behind. Too much of that era was misunderstood while it was happening, and so much of it, as I understand it myself these days, was elementally narcissistic. I think Nog's well-described ...more
Jan 01, 2011 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychedelic
This was a strange book for me, the way the narrator floats through the story seemingly just letting everything happen to/around him isn't like anything i've read before. To make it even weirder, he deliberately tries to cast his memories aside as he goes. He's like some weird phantom presence floating in and out of different bodies. You can't tell if he's inventing the past or not. You can't even tell if his past experiences are in the past! Definitely a mind-bender.
Zachary Krug
Dec 27, 2011 Zachary Krug rated it liked it
An odd little book. Felt like a cross between Electric Kool Aid Acid Test and Fight Club. Experimental and while published in 1968, still feels remarkably fresh; eventually though, it is weighed down by the lack of narrative drive. Definitely worth reading and interested to see what else he wrote. (Interesting side note: he wrote the screenplays for Two Lane Blacktop and Pat Garret and Billy the Kid).
Nov 01, 2013 Donald rated it it was amazing
A crazy, strange, wonderful read! The protagonist ( is he Nod? Lockett? other?) sort of flows through life, from one strange trip to another. He starts on a beach, in a storm, with an octopus. Then he's on a mattress, in a hallway, in a house. Then on a ridge, above a commune/ghost town. Finally, on a ship. Often with Meredith. Maybe. Sometimes obsessed with a black bag. Just going with the flow. If the flow is really going.
Oct 26, 2010 Cody rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, the-west
A psychedelic vision quest infused with elements of noir and the western, Nog is a frantic saga through a textual terrain that expands in all directions at once. Characters, events, and places are fluid, blending into one another so constantly that nothing is more than a mere gesture, idea, or feeling. There're even dashes of dark and zany humor that'll appeal to those who like Pynchon. Wonderfully strange and exhaustingly fast-paced, Nog is a great text.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Blood Oranges
  • Gogol's Wife and Other Stories
  • The Oranging of America and Other Stories
  • I Would Have Saved Them If I Could
  • Kaspar and Other Plays
  • Advertisements for Myself
  • The World Within the Word
  • Man in the Holocene
  • The Writer on Her Work
  • Falling in Place
  • For a New Novel: Essays on Fiction
  • The Collected Stories of Peter Taylor
  • The Coup
  • The Changeling
  • Rivers and Mountains
  • I, etcetera
  • Other Inquisitions, 1937-1952
  • Gimpel the Fool and Other Stories
The great-grandson of the man who founded the famous music company published his first novel, Nog in 1969. For most of the seventies Wurlitzer worked in Hollywood, writing screenplays. His 1971 play 2 Lane Blacktop was filmed by maverick producer Monte Hellman, starring Warren Oates with singer James Taylor and Beach Boy Dennis Wilson. In 1973 he wrote the screenplay for Sam Peckinpah's Western Pa ...more
More about Rudolph Wurlitzer...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »