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The Reenactments

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  335 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
For Nick Flynn, that game we all play—the who-would-play-you-in-the-movie-of-your-life game—has been answered. The Reenactments is the story of adapting Flynn's memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, into a film called Being Flynn. It is also a searing meditation on consciousness, representation, and grief. Flynn describes the surreal experience of being on set durin ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 7th 2013 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Apr 14, 2013 Oriana rated it it was amazing
Shelves: phenomenal, read-2013
This is one of the most intense books I have ever read. But it's almost like it isn't trying to be intense; it's written in these short little snips—a quote here, a paragraph there, a page and a half next—flowing from subject to subject, at a constant remove, an increasing-then-releasing philosophical distance, twisting in and around on itself (what a perfect cover design, BTW), yanking you into and out of its intensity so many times that it leaves you breathless.

This is Nick Flynn's memoir of
Dec 09, 2012 jeremy rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir-bio
as with nick flynn's other major prose works, the reenactments is a compelling, vignette-style memoir. flynn's 2004 another bullshit night in suck city was adapted into a film (being flynn) earlier this year, starring robert de niro, julianne moore, and paul dano as the young poet. the reenactments recounts flynn's time spent on set during production, where he engaged with the actors and witnessed the dramatized retelling of two of his life's most consequential events (meeting his father at a ho ...more
Feb 26, 2013 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Genius. I think Nick Flynn is my spirit animal.
I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads.

Having not read the original memoir I was unsure what to expect. This is a delightful series of short entries of the author on set of the making of the movie of his previous memoir! It is am engaging read with quick passages. It almost feels you are a part of the process. Now that I finished the book I think I need to check out the movie...and his first memoir!
Jan 19, 2016 Luke rated it really liked it
Filled with interesting anecdotes about the nature of consciousness, impressions from his childhood, and the shadows of his troubled parents, memory and fiction come together in this memoir by Nick Flynn as he observes the movie about his life being filmed in real time. For any fan of Maggie Nelson and her work, Nick Flynn is an easy recommendation. He is, as I'm told, the man in the blue shirt in 'Bluets.'
Jul 16, 2013 Cheryl rated it really liked it
I found I couldn't put this down, and stood in the kitchen reading it, dragged it around with me, let it heat up in the car and frantically, frantically read it, devoured it. There are wildfires burning in Colorado, and the book felt like a wildfire in my brain, dry, sere, painful, but so shockingly honest and raw, its power resonated and showed its quiet beauty. He hooked me when he quoted Teilhard de Chardin, Annie Dillard, and Rebecca Solnit, a triad of my favorite writers and thinkers. He is ...more
Liz Baessler
Jul 21, 2016 Liz Baessler rated it it was amazing
Inspiration is a funny thing. Last week I saw and adored Swiss Army Man. Because of that, I’ve started watching every Paul Dano movie I can find. One of those is Being Flynn, the film adaptation of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn. But I’m not reading that. I’m reading The Reenactments, Nick Flynn’s musings on the process of making the adaptation.

I feel like I got in deep in a very short span of time.

I read this book in an even shorter span of time - just now, in one sitting

Sep 13, 2013 Lori rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, memoir
I have read everything Nick Flynn has written, and loved Another Bullshit Night in Suck City so much. I felt that somehow he had written my memoir, trumped me, even though the family roles were mixed up. I enjoyed the movie but loved the book so much more, so when I saw this book, a memoir of the making of the movie, it was a no-brainer. I started and finished it in one day.

It's beautiful. As one of his blurbers said, only poets should write memoir (though I might quibble with that "only"). But
Brittany M.
I have a problem with memoirs on addiction and mental health issues, especially when told through the prism of the author's family history/structure. The problem is that I will read every last one of them.

Nick Flynn is absolutely a favorite. Five years ago I read Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, his debut memoir. His story is, frankly, absurd, in a "you can't make this shit up" way. And yet he handles its telling with such precision!. I read his second memoir, The Ticking Is the Bomb, a few
Maureen Stanton
Dec 28, 2012 Maureen Stanton rated it really liked it
Flynn's third memoir is a meta-meta narrative that ostensibly is about the experience of turning his first memoir (Another Bullshit Night in Suck City--a brilliant book) into a film. One thematic strand looks intellectually at memory, perception, reality and self; a second strand relates events on the film set and the "making" of a certain (non)reality; a third more thin layer adds story about his life--his father's alcoholism and his relationship with his father, and more importantly, his mothe ...more
Mar 25, 2013 Jay rated it it was amazing
I think is my favorite prose work by Nick Flynn. The book is written on so many levels that I am certain that each time I read it I will see something new (and learn something new about myself).

The chapters are all very short - the longest being maybe four pages and shortest being only a few words. If you have read all of his non-fiction, you can see a progression and a synthesis of style "The Reenactments," which uses the making of "Being Flynn" as the unifying element into which he weaves memo
Jan 02, 2013 Kelly rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads, 2013
I think Nick Flynn is a remarkable writer. I recommend his book(s) without reservation simply because his turns of phrase, his minimalist style, and his thoughtfulness always impress me. And yet, I reluctantly give this book two stars because I couldn’t connect with it like I did his two previous memoirs. I couldn’t picture the Agassiz exhibits that housed such a large portion of his childhood memories. I wasn’t enamored with the glass flowers, or as intrigued by how the mind is shaped by memori ...more
Apr 22, 2013 Kevin rated it really liked it
This is a stunning book in many ways. Flynn takes the mega-meta concept of writing about a movie about his memoir and makes it feel like he (and anyone who's read his great memoir, Another Bullshit Night In Suck City) is falling down his own personal rabbit hole all over again. I love the parts where he is trying to tell his dad about Robert De Niro playing him in the movie, and I also loved the part where he impulsively reaches out and hugs Julianne Moore. On the downside, I feel like the chapt ...more
May 16, 2013 Lynn rated it really liked it
This is my favorite kind of memoir: made of fragment and juxtaposition and memory. The premise of this book, Flynn watches a movie being made of his earlier memoir, could be a solipsistic hall of mirrors, but it's not. He escapes narcissism by meditating on absence and artifice, by thinking, piece by piece, about how memory, loss, and obsession work.
The writing is, of course, beautiful and lyrical and poetic. I love the fragments from brain science and psychology and art.
A few of the fragments
Adrienne Urbanski
May 05, 2014 Adrienne Urbanski rated it really liked it
Flynn returns to the vignette format he utilized in The Ticking is the Bomb. Much like his previous book he attempts to weave multiple threads together: scientific data on memories, the manufacturing of realistic fake glass flowers, and his experience witnessing his first memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City being turned into a film. The glass flowers thread gets a bit dull, but the other two threads remain interesting and touching. By watching the movie being filmed Flynn is effectively ...more
Neil Gilbert
Sep 25, 2014 Neil Gilbert rated it it was amazing
How do you talk about this book? I feel paranoid in too closely analyzing it for fear of wearing out the memory of it. The characters, the plot, the trajectory is fine china. It's brittle paper; I feel warned. This is not a book you can enjoy for the story, you have to enjoy it for the reason and the mystery and the non-reversible history that made it happen, then appreciate the reason the story exists after you've dissected it. This isn't a story, really, it's more of un-story. Because it was l ...more
Mar 13, 2013 Johnpatten rated it it was amazing
I've never read anything like "The Reenactments," Nick Flynn's memoir about the making of "Being Flynn," which was based on his book "Another Bullshit Night in Suck City" (possibly the most compelling title ever...)
Flynn combines the surreal nature of watching a movie being made about some of the most tragic moments of his life, while reliving those moments--while reading philosophical and scientific studies on the nature of memory. It all gets jumbled up into a gumbo that's part memoir, part ph
Le Regent College Library
Feb 25, 2013 Le Regent College Library rated it it was amazing
Once again Nick Flynn manages somehow to use a memoir as the starting point and core of something so much bigger and more profound. Such a shame that the film "Being Flynn" had little or no theatrical release here in Australia. "The Reenactments" completes the triptych that Flynn began with "Another Bullshit Night in Suck City" and "The Ticking is the Bomb", pausing only to offer us another book of poems, "The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands". Read them all, read everything he writes, it's that ...more
Mar 28, 2013 Mickey rated it it was amazing
A fascinating, lyrical reflection on the author's life, memories of that life, and the writing and filming that allowed him to re-experience those memories. Flynn wraps his mind around the complexities of difficult subject matter (the suicide of his mother, his father's homelessness, his own psychological obstacles, the movie Being Flynn--which is about all of this) with candor, philosophical and scientific scrutiny, as well as poetic beauty. This book will make you think in ways you normally do ...more
Brad Wojak
Jan 10, 2013 Brad Wojak rated it really liked it
I am a big fan of Nick Flynn. I still remember the first time I read "Another Bullshit Night in Suck City", it was an ARC, and I was in Chicago at a book convention. The publisher who gave me the book said it would stay with my long after I finished it... and here I am now, almost 10 years later and it did. This is a fine follow-up, and a great rounding out of the trilogy of memoirs. I really recommend it, and all of Flynn's other work (a fine poet too!).
Jul 13, 2013 Jason rated it it was amazing
The initial project, as the book presents itself, is fascinating--a book that gets meta multiple times removed. It's filled with fascinating thoughts on neurobiology, on trauma, on memory and how it preserves itself. The book never lags, and its moments of brilliance are unforgettable--Flynn's father asking De Niro, "So you do a little acting?" and the final scene in the book particularly stand out.
Sep 02, 2013 Brittanie rated it liked it
Good complement to Another Bullshit NIght in Suck City. This book is about the filming of the movie, Being Flynn, based on that previous memoir. It answers a lot of questions form the previous book, and unlike most memoirs, goes balls-out when it comes to being meta. I mean, it's a book about a movie about a book. A good, fast read on the constraints of memory and the human attempt to preserve moments in history.
Bree Hobgood
Dec 21, 2012 Bree Hobgood rated it liked it
I really enjoyed Nick Flynn's writing style, but I ultimately found that the book was unrelatable, as it concerned the author's experience in watching his life story made into a film. I have seen this movie, "Being Flynn", and loved it so, so, so much, so it made the book at times interesting, but I ended up thinking that I should have just read "Another Bullshit Night in Suck City" (the book the movie is based on) instead.
Jan 12, 2013 Chris rated it liked it
It took me a while to find my way in this. The first 100 or so pages seem so random. A random collection of quotes, thoughts, remembrances. I was longing for something to connect the thoughts.
Flynn does connect things. His tales of the film shoot, weave with his remembrances, his studies on consciousness and grief and representation, and his current life. He presents his emotional journey in stark detail and with a bare honesty.
Christine Fay
Feb 25, 2015 Christine Fay rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
This memoir is about the making of his other memoir into a movie version of his life. With Robert DeNiro playing his father, and Julianne Moore playing his mother who committed suicide, it was very unnerving at times for Flynn to be on set, going through yet again the emotional turmoil of his adolescence and young adult life. The story brings us into present-day Flynn, father to a now 4-year-old Maeve and husband of actress Lili Taylor.
Tracy Stewart
May 05, 2016 Tracy Stewart rated it it was amazing
This book is unbelievable. The best thing I've read in ages. I'd never read anything by Nick Flynn before, but this has cemented him as one of my favourite writers (he's in good company with John Irving, Paul Auster, and Anthony Burgess—to name a few). This summer will be spent reading his entire catalogue if I can swing it! Thank you Mr. Flynn for this amazing read. Inspiring.
Dec 16, 2012 Peter rated it really liked it
An extended meditation/poetic memoir on Suck City's movie adaptation. Feels like a companion piece to the original memoir, but remains filled with wonderful ideas organized in a neat fashion. While I loved the book, I wouldn't have appreciated it nearly as much had I not read Suck City.
Apr 16, 2014 Stella rated it it was amazing
I have/had so many notes and things to say about this book that I had to start a Google doc to keep up. So good, so very, very good.
A word to the wise: have tissues ready for your tears and be prepared to make a trip to Boston for the Glass Flowers exhibit.
Dec 26, 2012 Delphia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-books
I won this as a first book and I was impressed. Nick Flynn beautifully articulates the reliving and grief he experienced writing and filming his life. The role of the mind and memory through out the book captures things everyone has felt. I will read his other books.
Jan 16, 2013 Zach rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Probably the best book I'll read in 2013. In the trifecta with Another Bullshit Night in Suck City and The Ticking is the Bomb. Nick Flynn is the most important poet-turned-essayist working right now. And maybe my favorite nonfiction writer.

Page 62 is my favorite page in any of his books.
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Nick Flynn is an American poet, memoirist, and playwright.

His most recent book is The Ticking Is The Bomb, a memoir about awaiting his first child while simultaneously learning and fighting against American torture during the Iraq War.

Flynn's had written one play, Alice Invents a Little Game and Alice Always Wins. His most famous book is a memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. He has publis
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“OUT of that moment Jesus was nailed to his cross flowed our attempts to represent it, to create a narrative that could contain it. Yet the body, hanging there, is still, simply, terrible. Caravaggio’s genius was to paint Jesus with dirty feet, to bring him back down to earth.” 1 likes
“My friend asked me if it had been cathartic, to write my memoir. I looked down at the sculptures—it was cathartic for me to look at them, but I could imagine it might have been hell to make them (I was cheered / when I came first to know / that there were flowers also / in hell). No, I answered—how was it for you to read it? Aristotle, in his Poetics, never promised catharsis for the makers of art, only for the audience.” 0 likes
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