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Go Now

3.35  ·  Rating Details ·  365 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Richard Hell reads from his 1996 novel, Go Now, the story of a musician down on his luck. Robert Quine provides the accompanying music. Hell has been writing novels and poetry for over twenty five years. In 1996 Codex published his 1973 first novel The Voidoid. However, it is as a leading light of the New York punk scene that Hell is best-known. He produced proto-punk clas ...more
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Published August 1st 1999 by Codex (first published June 10th 1996)
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Nicole Iovino
Aug 29, 2009 Nicole Iovino rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love Richard Hell, but what was that?? I picked this book up out of curiosity with practically NO expectations, but he proceeded to disappoint. This was not a novel, it was Richard Hell’s 170 page egomaniacal, misogynistic rave about drugs and his disturbing libido. An embarrassing vanity project and major failure.
Like probably nearly anyone else who's read Richard Hell's fiction, I arrived via his work with Television and the Voidoids. Simply put, while the man created some of the finest rock music of all time, his fiction fails to live up to this lofty standard. I will definitely say that he possesses talent, it's just that he tends to employ it in this cheap-ass way. Ever been around a junkie who only talks about where they cop from, and when? Now imagine a whole novel of that, and you'll soon realize ...more
Diann Blakely
The author, a Kentucky native who is a crack--so to speak--reader of Rimbaud, from whose UN SAISON D'ENFER he took his name (, an extraordinary musician, and more-formidable-than-you-have-ever-guessed-poet-and-novelist, now lives in New York, but given his border state roots, I often wonder why is he never among participants in Southern literary to-dos. Especially because Hell’s wife (a much less frightening role than that phrase might imply), Sheelagh Br ...more
Lucile Barker
Oct 20, 2016 Lucile Barker rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
137. Go Now by Richard Hell
Unlikeable narrator, Billy, with too much dope and too much testosterone. He is the leader of a band that never seems to rehearse and is having an affair with a high school student. Then he is paired with a very young female photographer with who he has had a previous sexual relationship to go on a road trip in an old 1950s Dodge convertible classic car, which is the most interesting character in the story. His chief concern is scoring drugs in each town, and seducing
Oct 11, 2008 Heather rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oohhhh as disappointing as his ego is large. Sigh.
I can't even begin to say where this falls apart. It's a disaster. He's obviously not professional material.
I bought this for cheap cuz I grew up listening to Neon Boys and Television. Cuz I loved the New York punk scene more than anything when I was 15. I bought Hell's lifestyle - the drugs, the clothes, the music. I guess he's better at living his lifestyle than writing about it.
Grant Talabay
Punk legend Richard Hell takes the reader on a whirlwind heroin fueled cross country trek. Good but there are better books about dope out there.
May 04, 2010 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Richard Hell is probably best known as the singer and bass guitarist of the early punk band The Voidoids. His novel Go Now, based on some of his own experiences, is like Jim Carroll’s The Basketball Diaries and Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting in that it explores the social and psychological effects of heroin addiction. The book is narrated by Billy, who often comments on how messed up he is both by junk and by rock and roll culture, and who gets himself into injurious situations, perhaps to prove t ...more
Susan Gottfried
Originally posted at

The nice thing about my continued growth as an expert in Rock Fiction is that people send me books. Go Now, Richard Hell's 1996 novel (novella? I didn't count the words) is one of those books that showed up with a Random Act of BookCrossing Kindness.
I picked it up the other day because I needed a quickie read, and it was a skinny book. How's that for prioritizing your stack of To Be Reads?
Richard Hell has been around music for a long time, mo
Dec 07, 2015 Periodic rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
This was my "read at work on my lunch break" book, which means I only get to read about 20 minutes of it a day, 4 days a week. That's pretty much all I could stomach of Go Now in any case. I have an admitted issue with books/music/anything that glorifies drug use, so maybe that the problem. Maybe it was that the protagonist is a sex fiend with an ego as large as my library. I don't listen to punk music, but apparently the author is a big deal in the NYC punk scene? Idk. The book was terrible. No ...more
May 29, 2008 Tait rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, punk, american
Another punk turned poet and author, Hell was most famous for his song "Blank Generation" with the Voidoids. His work offers a curious modern updating of several literary traditions that inspired his life. "Go Now" corrupts the Beat spirit of Kerouac and Clellon Holmes, while "Godlike" re-imagines the life of Rimbaud and Verlaine as gay New York poets on acid, all the while retaining a grasp on the frailness or pointlessness of humanity.
Apr 19, 2008 Tommy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This started great but then he just lost it. The writing is at times great, but then it totally peters out. It's like he lost direction on where to take it and then lost interest. This had the potential to be great if he'd waited to publish and stuck with it sorting out a full story. Still at 175 pages worth the read.
Anna Lea
Jan 15, 2010 Anna Lea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I know I read this book, I remember reading this book, I can vaguely remember stylistic nuances but I can't remember what I read in this book. It was ages and ages ago, but if none of it, other than the fact that it was a punk rock road trip book stayed in my head, then it probably wasn't a particularly important/memorable book to me.
Mar 03, 2009 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty well worn territory. Essentially a character study of a drug addict that's been done numerous times--and often much better. The ending and exploration of sexual taboos do work in Hell's favor and help to differentiate "Go Now." It's a quick read and worth the time, but certainly not the best of the sub-genre.
Jun 14, 2008 Ckbiffster rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I already knew legendary progenitor of punk rock Richard Hell could write songs(though his singing sometimes leaves something to be desired), but I was surprised what an accomplished prose-slinger he turned out to be. This book concerns the confessions of a rather corrupt soul, but the execution is unpretentious and affecting.
Mar 22, 2012 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Crazy, messy, beautiful prose. A couple places should have been edited out, but this made me hugely excited to see what else Richard Hell would write. Unfortunately he went in the opposite direction from the good stuff in this novel in his next book. Oh well.
Oct 25, 2007 Tosh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Richard Hell is a superb writer - a wonderful novelist - and yeah his music is good as well. But "Go Now" is a cross-country trip that's insightful as well as sexual and funny at its twisted turns. One of my favorite books by a living author -and it does rock!
Mohd Jayzuan
Sep 10, 2009 Mohd Jayzuan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Same goes as Henry Rollins, Richard Hell is a really important punk figure in history of punk rock, this book really changed my perspective to the concept of writing.

A junkie rock n' roll literature.
not too bad, actually. i could have done without the bits of gratuitously bad sex, but that's alright.
Aug 08, 2011 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A surprisingly good read considering it came from the pen of an punk rocking ex-addict. Deeply disturbing and profoundly moving.
Jun 28, 2011 Laaly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this a few years ago, I loved it. I actually found it oddly funny. If not gross in places. I think if you like his music, you'll like the book, but that could just be me.
Christopher Salas
I see both sides of this book. It's insightful, artful, and yet a little unnecessary. Don't let that put you down... I did enjoy it.
Susan Dickson
A rehash of Beat themes, but done self-consciously. Hell's writing style is so immediate, I was surprised that it was written in the 90's (abaout the 70's).
Jul 21, 2008 Zack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this first years ago, and I remember being unimpressed at the time, but rereading it all these years later, I find it very well-written and readable.

Dear_Daria rated it it was amazing
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Ilya Smyshlyaev rated it it was amazing
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Jun 20, 2012
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Born in 1949, Richard Meyers was shipped off to a private school for troublesome kids in Delaware, which is where he met Tom (Verlaine) Miller. Together they ran away, trying to hitchhike to Florida, but only made it as far as Alabama before being picked up by the authorities. Meyers persuaded his mother to allow him to go to New York, where he worked in a secondhand bookshop (the Strand; later he ...more
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“It's great to be anywhere as a writer. It saves you from implication in the ugliness of the place and justifies your being there. You can spend all day jerking off as long as you describe it well.” 7 likes
“I walk in the sprinkling rain like a lion. Pretty soon there won't be lions anymore. If I have to die to be a lion I'll die. I'm roaring, but in the language of rain and sand: I am invisible, I blend in, and I'm not hungry so everyone is safe. I can just observe them, join them, I can admire them, I can pity them and love them. They're so pathetically beautiful I could cry. How could I ever forget that this world is gorgeous and interesting? Every little detail is a gateway to huge canyons of knowledge and understanding. And it's all so sexy. Nothing is restrained, everything is perfectly, ripely, ravishingly itself, and swollen with signs and information that link it in the web.” 6 likes
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