The Blow-off: A Novel

The Blow off A Novel Monster Stalks NYC When a local drunk is mugged near the toxic Gowanus Canal by a hulking hairy beast who smells really bad Hank Kalabander thinks nothing of blaming the assault on the legendary Big

  • Title: The Blow-off: A Novel
  • Author: Jim Knipfel
  • ISBN: 9781439154137
  • Page: 429
  • Format: Paperback
  • Monster Stalks NYC When a local drunk is mugged near the toxic Gowanus Canal by a hulking, hairy beast who smells really bad, Hank Kalabander thinks nothing of blaming the assault on the legendary Bigfoot His sardonic crime blotter for The Hornet, a local Brooklyn rag, often gleefully recounts the tragedies that befall the borough s dimmer residents But when an upstartMonster Stalks NYC When a local drunk is mugged near the toxic Gowanus Canal by a hulking, hairy beast who smells really bad, Hank Kalabander thinks nothing of blaming the assault on the legendary Bigfoot His sardonic crime blotter for The Hornet, a local Brooklyn rag, often gleefully recounts the tragedies that befall the borough s dimmer residents But when an upstart reporter from The Eagle, a tabloid paper, lifts his piece and implicates Bigfoot in two attacks, the crimes become local news fodder and the hunt for the Gowanus Beast takes off Pretty soon the G.B is to blame for everything from murder and robberies to playground scuffles and a pie s disappearance and neighborhood watch patrols have taken to the streets Alarmed by the populace s response, Hank decides it s his responsibility to disprove the existence of this menacing beast and, with the help of an old carny colleague, put an end to the growing hysteria In The Blow off, acclaimed writer Jim Knipfel has crafted an astoundingly funny send up of our current times an intoxicating blend of sharp cultural references, wildly comical scenes, discerning commentary, and unforgettable characters.

    One thought on “The Blow-off: A Novel”

    1. Blotter columnist Hank writes about a Bigfoot sighting in the derelict Gowanus Canal area, and this tiny entry in a relatively unknown and unappreciated pennyzine is the first spark in a conflagration of mass hysteria that overtakes New York City and, eventually, the entire country. Soon Gowanus Beast sightings are spotted throughout the city and many minor and major acts of crime are attributed to the beast. What descends is Knipfel's apocalyptic vision of a city gone mad. The rules are discard [...]

    2. Good to see Jim back in form--this is his best novel and best writing since his initial memoirs, "SlackJaw" and "Quitting the Nairobi Trio." Jim's got a kickass ear for speech and for the city (Brooklyn, specifically). Less a mystery than a comment on the colossal stupidity of modern (especially urban) culture, it takes a ridiculously small event--someone claiming to be attacked by a hairy creature that smelled bad, and slowly inflates it to armageddon. It's a masterful piece of pacing throughou [...]

    3. What happens when a spark of fear catches fire and engulfs an entire city in mass hysteria? That’s what Jim Knipfel explores in his eighth novel, The Blow-Off. Coincidentally timely, Knipfel explores the cause and effect of large-scale hysteria and the media sensationalism that helps prolong the panic and violence. While relevant and alluring in premise, the book suffers a sluggish plot and unsympathetic characters, making The Blow-Off a tedious read.Curmudgeonly misanthropic Hank Kalabander w [...]

    4. I received this book for free through First Reads.I have been trying to finish this book for a month but absolutely nothing compels me to pick it up again after reading a third of it. From the very beginning I found the characters uninteresting and unnecessarily vulgar. Don't get me wrong, sometimes it seems my favorite word is the f-bomb, and cussing doesn't really affect me if it really adds to the story. But this isn't one of those times. The characters sound like teen boys. I don't really h [...]

    5. I just finished reading this book last night, after receiving it about a week ago from a first read giveaway. I was excited to dig right in on Knipfel's novel about the "alleged" Gowanus Beast's bizarre activity in New York City, the reaction of NYC's citizens, and how one journalist makes it a personal mission to prove the whole thing is a hoax. Fortunately, Knipfel did not disappoint. I found myself laughing out loud several times while reading, particularly at the dripping sarcasm Hank (the [...]

    6. This would have made an awesome short story, but as a novel the story is a little beleaguered. The first third of the novel is a bit filler. It is really the last bit, once Dirty Dingus shows up that the story starts to fall into place. A pretty apt satire on the state of media right now - the stealing of content, the sensationalism, the penny saver snide police blotter. The novel really could have benefited from purging some of the "fag, retard," and other supposedly edgy "un-pc" curmudgeon stu [...]

    7. Hank Kalabander is an asshole. He writes a crime blotter for a less than prestigious paper, and everyone he works with is an asshole. One day a young Ms. Stone, an asshole of a different variety, steals his story and puts New York City in a state of chaos. Hank's original story of an ape like man turns into the "Gowanus Beast", a big-foot-like creature that becomes the criminal scapegoat for the city. Ms. Stone's story takes off, and most everyone is afraid of the so called beast that is terrori [...]

    8. I received this book for free, from the first reads program.I enjoyed the characters in this book. Their peculiar personalities made for some interesting reading. They seem to live in their own world, while interacting with the general population. Hank and his carny pal Rocky were fun characters. They seem to share a common past, although that is only briefly touched upon in the novel. I would like to read more of their backstory.The plot, about how mass hysteria can grip a city, and the part t [...]

    9. Great read. Entertaining book that doesn't take itself too seriously, and in its humor, has a lot to say about the state of the world (especially the news media). I found myself laughing out loud (in public) at some parts and nodding furiously in agreement at others. It's absurd and self-aware and funny and smartly written, and the mystery element keeps the pages turning.Especially good for a plane ride, a beach, or a day in the park.Bonus note - Anyone residing in Brooklyn will love the geograp [...]

    10. A local drunk is mugged on the streets of Brooklyn by a supposed "hulking, hairy beast," and all hell breaks loose in New York City. This very funny, noir-style tale tells the story of hack crime reporter Hank Kalabander, whose short item about an alleged "Gowanus Beast" in the local rag he works for creates a sensation. Once word gets out about the Beast, all of New York becomes obsessed with finding and killing the creature, and every crime and malady no matter how small is attributed to the m [...]

    11. I really, really, really hated this book. Can you tell from what I wrote for Library Journal:Hank Kalabander is hard man to like. His speech is a fire hose of foul language, ethnic slurs, sexist comments, and words that would make GLAAD very unhappy. His track record with women isn't so great, and even he doesn't respect his job as a writer of the crime blotter for The Hornet, Brooklyn's finest shopper newspaper. However, when rumors of a "Gowanus Beast" (like Bigfoot, but local) induce mass hys [...]

    12. I was at the Strand last night and I was flipping through the "shiny new paperbacks" table, and suddenly it was later than I thought and they were closing and I had this in one hand, a memoir of a former skinhead in the other, and a small pile in front of me with essays by a Ukrainian musician, a new Open Letter paperback, and something else I already forgot. I was rushed! I couldn't properly decide which was most deserving of my seven paltry dollars! I hope I made the right choice***Nope. I hat [...]

    13. Knipfel tells a rollicking farce on New York, the media, and mass hysteria. It is impossible, I can venture to say, to read and not to hope that someone, anyone, will eventually get it right and focus on the real crime, that someone will call the media on the circus they have created, that at some point the journalists or the public will sober up. But, no. When the sanest group of people walking around in the Gowanus area consists of a circus midget, a bigoted penny-saver journalist, and a floor [...]

    14. This was suprisingly awesome for a book picked up on a whim at the library and also totally reaffirms my faith in picking/judging a book by its cover. Great cover. The book itself is a very clever and funny monster story, which is really a splendidly acute commentary on the mass hysteria, media madness and the phenomenal depths of human stupidity. Complete with terrific characters, good easy dialogue, fast pace, great ending and excellent writing all around this book was nearly impossible to put [...]

    15. A ridiculously anti-social book. I really won't give away too much except that one little white lie about Brooklyn's highly polluted Gowanus Canal makes NYC go apes#!t, and a former carny/mental patient, who is currently just a malcontent, is on a one man mission to stop the madness. Knipfel doesn't delve too deep into the lead's past, instead dropping hints and allowing you to fill in the blanks. Add in a colorful, but completely expendable, cast of characters and you have a tale as varied and [...]

    16. I received this book for free as part of the First Reads Program--which I didn't think anybody actually won--so I was kind of compelled to read it. It's a funny book and the best parts are the stories within the story when the narrator is writing for a crime blotter. I would read that guy's blotter in real life anyday. The plot is kind of hokey, but not more so than one expect in a book about carnies and Bigfoot hunters. I liked the way the author takes the setting from a very real, modern day [...]

    17. The Blow-Off was a sarcastic and dark look at the stupidity of the masses. It shows how one misinterpreted sighting can be blown out of proportion and start a domino effect into disaster. Basically humans are stupid when they start thinking as a group instead of critically assessing a situation for themselves. It was an entertaining read but at points the main character, Hank, got on my nerves. But then, Hank seemed to get on most people's nerves. All in all I quite enjoyed the book.

    18. I almost gave this tepid noiresque Ghostbusterish novel one star, but the author's commentary on Albany, NY elevated it a notch: "Albany? But Albany's a s*it hole." That's about the only thing the author got right with this boring story. The characters are absolutely unlikeable, but he definitely portrays well those rare breeds of crusty uncouth people who can still occasionally be found living on the fringes of NYC culture; throwbacks to the grittier and dirtier 60s and 70s eras when the city [...]

    19. From the description of this book on the first read giveaway page, I thought this would be a fun, light summer read and was very happy when I won a copy. Unfortunately, I was wrong. The characters were unengaging and the story line took much too long to develop. I found the language to be offensive and painful for me, too many GDs in the first 52 pages to count. Perhaps this is someone else's cup of tea, it certainly wasn't mine.

    20. Once again, I laughed repeatedly, in public, risking embarrassment, reading this book. The end (like The Buzzing) takes a turn neither unanticipatable, considering the way things were going, nor predictable — if that makes any senseW: You're so sunk in it, by the time you turn those final corners really, what else did you expect?Crazy how he pulls that shit off!

    21. This book was slightly odd - I mean, I feel like author had a bigger THING about NYC he was trying to get across, but I am not sure what it was. They all fall into mob mentality too easily? They are all actually animals in disguise, and it doesn't take much to pull the veneer of humanity off? Both?It tried so hard to get this secret message apart that it took away from what could have been a rather off kilter and oddly enjoyable - if dark - story.

    22. Hank is awesome. He's outspoken, un-PC, and - well - an asshole. A great character. I agree with the others who've said the first 2/3 of the book are solid while the last 1/3 is really rather weak. I was disappointed with the finish. Still - it's worth a read.

    23. Okay, pretty unusual, starts off at a NYC street carnival. Some weird characters and probably not something I'd recommend. But it kept my interest, was an easy read and I've read worse @Stacey Butterfield!

    24. Meh. I thought the dialog was stunted, the plot was strange, and the moral was heavy-handed and not pretty. Actually, I'm not sure what the moral was, except possibly "humans are stupidly gullible, will kill anyone if prompted, and will resort to caveman tactics if even slightly provoked."

    25. I tried but just couldn't finish this book. The characters were too odd for my taste. However, after reading other people's reviews, obviously many found it entertaining. Thank you to First Reads for this copy.

    26. 3 1/2 Stars. It was entertaining and easy to get through. Not very predictable either, but stays grounded; it gets outlandish in a realistic and believable way. I was fine with that.

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