Nog (novel)

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Nog
Author Rudolph Wurlitzer
Country United States
Language English
Genre Psychedelic
Publisher Random House
Publication date
1969
Media type Print
Pages 167


Nog is a psychedelic novel by Rudolph Wurlitzer published in 1968. Monte Hellman's enjoyment of the novel prompted him to hire Wurlitzer to rewrite the screenplay for Two-Lane Blacktop (1971).[1] Nog was reprinted in 2009 by the independent publisher Two Dollar Radio.[2]

Plot Overview[edit]

The novel's style is deliberately disjointed and at times self-contradictory. It is the first person account of an unnamed and rather unreliable narrator as he meanders through life. He occasionally gives his name as Nog, but also implies that Nog is a different person. At the start of the novel, he is in the possession of a fake octopus in the back of a truck, which he may have just purchased from Nog. He encounters a silly old man, Colonel Green, who is obsessed with maintaining a seawall outside his beach home. The narrator then arrives at a commune run by a man named Lockett, who is alternately presented as an oracle, a drug dealer, a con-man, and a visionary. Lockett calls himself Nog for a while. The narrator goes off into a forest on his own and almost gets shot by a hunter named Bench. The narrator shares drugs with Bench, who then attacks the commune, killing Lockett. The narrator next adopts Lockett's identity and leaves the commune with a female member named Meridith. Together they raid a hospital for drugs, where they encounter a senile old man named The General. The narrator and Meridith then enter a desert, where they meet yet another old man, a hermit named The Captain, and mistakes Nog for Lockett and claims to have known his father. He supplies the couple with tickets to a ship, which they board. There they encounter another old man named The Captain, who also mistakes Nog for Lockett. The novel concludes at sea with the narrator becoming separated from Meridith.

Reception[edit]

Written in an experimental style, the novel is described by Atlantic Monthly as being effective at replicating "the slight and continuous dissociation of reality...normally achieved by using soft drugs to tinker with the nervous system." Thomas Pynchon wrote of it: "Wow, this is some book, I mean it's more than a beautiful and heavy trip, it's also very important in an evolutionary way, showing us directions we could be moving in — hopefully another sign that the Novel of Bullshit is dead and some kind of re-enlightenment is beginning to arrive, to take hold. Rudolph Wurlitzer is really, really good, and I hope he manages to come down again soon, long enough anyhow to guide us on another one like Nog."[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ O'Brien, Joe (May 2008). "ON THE DRIFT: Rudy Wurlitzer and the Road to Nowhere". Arthur Magazine. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "Two Dollar Radio". Two Dollar Radio. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  3. ^ Pynchon, Thomas. "Book Endorsements". The Modern Word. Retrieved 12 October 2014.