Closing Time

Joe Queenan

22 July 2011
352 pages


By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Closing Time recounts Joe Queenan’s Irish Catholic upbringing in a family dominated by his erratic father, a violent yet oddly charming emotional terrorist whose alcoholism fuels a limitless torrent of self-pity, railing, destruction, and late-night chats with the Lord Himself. With the help of a series of mentors and surrogate fathers, and armed with his own furious love of books and music, Joe begins the long flight away from the dismal confines of his neighbourhood – with a brief misbegotten stop at a seminary – and into the wider world.

Closing Time is an unforgettable account of the damage done to children by parents without futures and of the grace children find to move beyond these experiences.

Closing Time is unmistakably a tale of triumph, vindication and revenge . . . [an] enlightening account of the ways in which we are all, to some extent, casualties of our own childhoods.’ Sarah Churchwell, Guardian

‘A brutally executed coming-of-age story’ Esquire

‘Will have readers crying tears of both sorrow and hilarity’ Booklist