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We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night
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We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  479 ratings  ·  110 reviews
A blackly comic and heart-rending odyssey by the inimitable author of Down to the Dirt

Scrappy tough guy and three-time loser Johnny Keough is going a little stir-crazy awaiting trial for an alleged assault charge involving his girlfriend, Madonna, and a teapot. Facing three to five years in a maximum-security prison, Johnny knows this might just be the end of the road. But
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 4th 2017 by Harper Perennial
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3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  479 ratings  ·  110 reviews

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Johnny Keough is awful. I wouldn't last 10 minutes in a room with him. But somehow, Joel Thomas Hynes makes me care about this man and wish him well. A superb narrative.
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Goodreads Giveaway. The first few pages (or even chapters) might put you off, but stick with it. Behind all that anger and profanity is a powerfully told story.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Mumble mumble down there. Some sorta big talk to his wife or his girlfriend. An oath, a curse. Talkin about Johnny, gotta be. Big talk, nothin he'd say to Johnny's face. Role-playing. Shag this. Johnny's down the stairs and out the front hall to the door. He dont even bother to put on the sneakers cause he's not gonna be using his feet. You gotta be able to dance, dance, dance whenever the mood takes you. That's the rule, that's the law. Johnny gives the knuckles a good scrape across the panell
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure, the author is a friend of a friend and I bought the book at a book signing. I always worry with art made by people I know. Will I have to complement the font to find something nice to say?

Happily, Mr. Hynes has given us a superbly written story about Johnny, a down and out Newfoundlander who travels across Canada to, let's say (to avoid spoilers), help a friend and deal with some family issues. Johnny narrates the story in an inner monologue. His thoughts are both profane and ly
Joe Beaton
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joel Thomas Hynes does a fantastic job portraying Johnny Keough as a low life miserable prick. By all outward appearances there’s been nothing on the protagonist’s mind but swilling, drugging and fornicating since he was twelve years old. The lifestyle has resulted in violence both by and against him, stints in prison, and even being hailed as an unlikely hero for helping an elderly couple escape a house fire. All this before he hightails it from Newfoundland with an urn of his dead girlfriend’s ...more
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant book. If you can get past all the things you don't like about Johnny, you'll be rewarded by the kindling of your empathy. Johnny's the epitome of the underdog. He's like the stubborn little weed that grows in the town dump. You know how some people are born on 3rd base and think they hit a triple? Johnny struck out before he was even born, and things went downhill from there. Just when you think he's hit rock bottom, someone digs a hole and he stumbles in. Even when he gets lucky, it a ...more
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
How interested am I truly in reading this? A man gets off from an assault charge only because his girlfriend dies - so he hitchhikes across Canada with his now "clean slate". Hmmmm -- have feelings about that, can I put them aside - do I need to put them aside when I could spend more time reading the other titles that made the 2017 Giller Longlist?

We'll just leave it at me not trying to hard to get my hands on this one and maybe only if it makes the shortlist. :-) (interesting book to make the
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Are there more than five stars?
Sue Smith
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lordy, this was depressing.

Don't get me wrong - it was an very interesting look at the inner workings of a young man that has had very little going for him from the get go, (and I mean very little -zero- zippo - zilch- nadda) and yet his heart is rock solid when it's in the right place, even though it seems beyond comprehension that he could ever have a good heart. Johnny Keough is one messed up young man with a world of hurt on his shoulders (seemingly self-induced) and an extra load waiting do
Heather Pearson
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If I spied Johnny Keough coming toward me along a dark street, I'd probably be tempted to cross to the other side. He's had a tough life and isn't about to take crap from anyone. As I was reading the opening chapters of this book, I questioned whether I would finish. It's not the type of story I generally read. I decided that I would push myself out of my comfort zone and keep reading. I needed to know why this book was awarded the Governor General's prize in 2017.

Johnny is hard to like. He talk
Wow, this was a tough read for a variety of reasons but I'm glad I stuck it through. It took me a long time to figure out what this book was even about, who we were following (including if it was only one person), and what was going on. This is mostly due to the protagonist, Johnny, referring to himself in the third person. Also, no quotation marks are used, so understanding the dialogue was challenging. At some point I found the rhythm of things, and was able to understand Johnny, but it took a ...more
Maggie Muggins
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We have all seen them. People down on their luck, career criminals, born into a life where nothing much was expected but to be a mess. Johnny Keough is a stereotypical “skeet” on a hilarious, quirky and bone breaking journey across the country to fulfill his dead girlfriends last will and testament. In real life you would walk across the street to avoid a character like Johnny but Joel Thomas Hynes makes him a likeable if not pitiful character. The Rowdyman for the truly shameless.
Stephanie Fleming
I've read everything Joel Thomas Hynes has published and this book is one of my favourites. His characters are unforgettable. His dark humour soothes me and his take on Newfoundland culture makes me homesick like no other author.
May 11, 2019 rated it liked it
In Joel Thomas Hynes’s novel We’ll All Be Burnt in our Beds Some Night, former convict, occasional criminal, part-time drug user and full-time loser Johnny Keough has run out of options. In the novel’s opening chapters, he is nervously awaiting trial on assault charges for injuries inflicted on his girlfriend Madonna: his previous record means that conviction will land him a stretch in federal maximum-security. Instead, Madonna’s convenient death by overdose the night before the trial is to star ...more
Friederike Knabe
Actually, I gave up on the reading, couldn't get into the writing style nor the story. The book won last year's Governor General Award for Literature. But, it was not my kind of book at this time.
Alex O'Brien
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canlit, fiction, 2018, literary
The tragic and captivating story of a young hoodlum who travels from Newfoundland to British Columbia to spread his deceased girlfriend's ashes on a beach. The author, Joel Thomas Hynes, has Johnny Keough tell his own tale in the third person vernacular, creating a violent and volatile character who is surprisingly empathetic due to his abusive and difficult childhood. Johnny has a mesmerizing voice and the book is dark but often very funny.
Doug Lewars
Jun 11, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
*** Possible Spoilers ***

They say that the first five pages of a book are the most important. I don't entirely agree with that but this book was 247 pages; so say 20% - which in this case would be 49 pages should be sufficient to obtain a pretty fair assessment. I should have stopped reading then. Frankly, I should have stopped at page one because in this case, the very first page defines the story nicely. Nevertheless, I read the reviews and they suggested that if one keeps reading, the book ge
Daniel Kukwa
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: canadian-lit
I hung in until the very end...although it nearly reduced my consciousness to mush. There's a great story in here...but it's all but smothered by a rambling vernacular writing style so dense and impenetrable that it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury" as a book that exists to torment me. At least I fathomed what was occurring throughout this story...which is a step up from Faulkner.
Beth Richmond
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a writer! So talented! This was one of those books where you can't stop reading but you're afraid to look. It was heart wrenching, funny, thought-provoking and illuminating. I both loved and feared the hero and was left with a deeper awareness that we never know what path another has had to walk. I look forward to reading more from this talented and fearless writer.
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was a book unlike any others I've read... it took a bit to get used to the writing style and the somewhat frenetic nature of the character and his voice. I think it would be interesting to re-read this in one sitting... I read it over many sittings.
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gritty as cremains, this novel takes you to places you've never been. As a hostage.
Jennifer Kelland Perry
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
How Joel Thomas Hynes makes me care about an antihero like Johnny Keough is what made this novel so satisfying. An original and addictive read. “Prolly” be on my mind for a while!
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this Giller Prize winner with a group of Canadian friends (I am from US) and their comments were so helpful in understanding some of the local terms and history. At first I enjoyed the rough realistic descriptions of Johnny and his life story, but by the end the unending violence and injury became a bit too much for my (admittedly sheltered) taste!
Spaka Eon
Apr 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: home-library
I read other novels by Joel Hynes and I liked this one the most. The main character Johnny changes in reader’s eyes as novel goes. There was always something happening to kept the interest of what’s next. Hints, little mysteries and chuckles along the way. (view spoiler) ...more
Cathy Regular
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Hidden Gems:

Sure I'm after tellin that many lies I don't know my own self what's true and what's not.

Fucken hell. I don't feel the same. I feels, I don't know, less dead. Not as dead. But deader, all the same. It's complicated.

I mean, I wants to kill the pain and maybe get a little buzz, but I hardly wants to fucken paralyze myself, not unless I got a good safe place to lie down for a while.

And it's one thing knowing nothing, but it's another thing altogether when you don't know that you
Nov 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading "We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night" is like being tethered (wanted or not) to an out of control roller coaster. This is Johnny Keough's life told in his own words although Johnny manages to set himself outside of the events of his life by recreating himself as a third person narrator. It's almost as if he has to separate himself from his own misbegotten actions in order to understand why he continues to do them. In an almost stream of consciousness prose, Johnny takes us into the ...more
Liz Graham
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You like the skeets in St. Jude Without? Well, notch them up X 100 and you have Newfoundland's answer to Trainspotting. Hynes creates Johnny, the druggiest, skeetiest skeet - the one you don't talk to in the Tim Horton's line-up, and definitely avoid on George Street on Friday night! But through the stream of semi-consciousness that is Johnny's mind, Hynes paints the whole picture of the child that became the man. It's a too-common story in our society, and it will break your heart. Yeah, I crie ...more
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
It took me a bit of time to get used to the main character, and to actually see to his good points (he's a rather rotten guy, mostly, at first), but once I got into it, I really loved this book. Actually, it's nice, really, to see a character that is so...flawed. It makes him more human, and real...not like a one-dimensional character, but a fleshed-out, flawed, awful, wonderful person (ha! kind of like real people, actually). Enjoyed the pace of the plot, and the narrative, and the good writing ...more
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this much more than the book that won the Giller Prize. It's rough and ready, like a Canadian Trainspotting. Hynes deftly keeps the anti-hero from becoming a completely irredeemable shit.

I didn't get to finish this because I borrowed it from the library and it has a huge wait list. I should not have been so lazy!
Steve Brace
Don't understand the hype. GG award for this?? Like reading morse code from a drunken braille. If you can get used to the lack of quotation marks and indications of who's speaking, if they're speaking at all or merely thinking, you may find a reasonably entertaining yarn here. I found the excessive cursing a bit irritating after awhile. Did have a few good laughs though!
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JOEL THOMAS HYNES was born and raised in Calvert, Newfoundland. His book, Down to the Dirt, won the Percy Janes First Novel Award, was shortlisted for the Atlantic Book Awards and the Winterset Award, and was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. It has also been staged to widespread acclaim and was recently adapted for the big screen. A celebrated author of novels, short st ...more