Wednesday, July 09, 2014


I just picked up this novel. NOOGIE'S TURN TO SHINE by Jim Knipfel. I like his work. Known mainly as the author of the autobiographical works SLACKJAW, RUINING IT FOR EVERYONE, and LEAVING THE NAIROBI TRIO, he has left the world of memoir for that of fiction. He seems to have some disdain for the fact that he wrote three autobiographical works before he was even forty, but the authorship of the mundane is actually fertile territory these days and it put him in the company of guys like Bukowski and Pekar.

Knipfel worked for many years in the world of small, independent newspapers and did some good work there. I recall that he did a great interview with Harry Crews in which his own personality came through and was not totally squashed by that of Crews; and that's a pretty damned big achievement, to my way of thinking.

Still, I really dig his fiction. The first one he did was THE BUZZING and that one was a real hoot. It was based partially on his experiences working for a (very) small newspaper and was jam-packed with irony. I highly recommend that one. So I've now picked up this newer work (2007).

The story features one Ned "Noogie" Krapzcak aka Crap Sack. He's a low-paid security guard for an independent company that installs and furnishes electronic cash machines. One day, after a $20 bill accidentally sticks to his shoe, the otherwise honest worker bee decides to start stealing money from his route of cash machines. Six million dollars into his scheme, he's found out and hits the road with his booty stashed in laundry bags. Yeah...he's not too bright.

It's a very good book. I really like Knipfel's style of writing. Terse and plain, with a fair number of movie references which I've always found odd for a guy who's going blind. The memories abide, I reckon.

I discovered Knipfel's work when I was winding down from a binge of the Beat writers. There's enough of that style in his work that it appealed to me then and it still does.

Give his books a try.


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