Jennifer Reese
October 29, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Cutty, One Rock

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
August Kleinzahler
publisher
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
genre
Nonfiction

We gave it an A-

In Cutty, One Rock‘s nine wry, off-kilter essays, San Francisco poet August Kleinzahler recalls his 1950s New Jersey childhood, riding the bus in San Diego, the unique pleasure of watching ”a good-looking young woman eat,” and, movingly, his older brother’s suicide. Casually erudite and self-deprecating (”I myself resemble a dissipated accountant who worked some years as a hod carrier in his youth”), Kleinzahler is at his best writing about boozy eccentrics and gritty street life. His dry, lovely tribute to an old San Francisco bar ranks with Joseph Mitchell’s classic McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon.

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