Oriana's Reviews > The Ticking Is the Bomb: A Memoir

The Ticking Is the Bomb by Nick Flynn
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's review
Nov 07, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: why-werent-you-better, read-2009
Read in January, 2010

Unfortunately, my initial thoughts remained true throughout the rest of the book. I'm sorry, Nick Flynn, that your last book was so fucking good that anything else you write will (most likely) pale in comparison.


I'm still more or less reserving judgment, but as I'm now just over halfway through, I'm sad to say that I am not loving this nearly as much as the brilliantly incredible Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. The language here is beautiful, sure, but somehow not quite as beautiful as there. The subject matter is much more nebulous, maybe as much philosophically essay-ish than plangently memoir-y. And there is a distance here that I can't quite describe – a wall, a space, a bubble perhaps, which I am unable to penetrate. This book deals as much with torture and current events as it does with Flynn's life, and when I read passages where he describes interviews with prisoners at Abu Ghirab and the like, I just can't feel the horror, the despair. Perhaps it's a failing in me, perhaps a general failing in humanity, that when faced with images or descriptions of very awful things, we (I) disassociate, step back, refuse to comprehend. I don't know, and I don't mean even to say that there are incredibly graphic passages here, because there aren't, it's much more theoretical, detailing at most "light" torture. I don't know. Perhaps I'll feel differently when I finish, but as yet Ticking has failed to reach in (out) and really grab me the way the raw, riveting, devastating Suck City did from practically the first page.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Colin McKay Miller Just finished and reviewed it. Felt the same as you (both on his first memoir and this one). I doubt you'll feel any different by the end.

Oriana Thanks Colin, it's always nice to be corroborated!

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