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FICTION/Lipsyte Sam
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Short stories
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2013.
1st ed
Physical Description
229 p. ; 22 cm
Main Author
Sam Lipsyte, 1968- (-)
Review by Library Journal Reviews

The sassy writer of Home Land and The Ask, both New York Times Notable Books, offers stories that have appeared in venues like The New Yorker. [Page 58]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Lipsyte (The Ask) conceived a great title for this book. There are "the fun parts"; then there are parts that aren't. The stories are all edgy, testing the boundaries between the ultra-real and the surreal. As one of the characters says, "Everything's weird if you look long enough." In the best of the stories, "This Appointment Occurs in the Past," an old college clique of poseurs reunites after many years to play out the second part of a pistol duel à la Pushkin. Other tales: a drugged-out proto-thief pitches a juvie biography of Marvelous Marvin Hagler, a second-class dungeons-and-dragons klatch is headed by a nutso dungeonmaster, and some young men bring back the Jersey shot-put scene of the mid-1980s. The not-so-great stories have their moments, like the longish "Republic of Empathy," but at other times just seem self-indulgently experimental. VERDICT A mixed bag; there's something for everyone (except maybe devotees of Nicholas Sparks or Jodi Picoult), but not an entire whole thing for anyone.—Robert E. Brown, Oswego, NY [Page 65]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this second story collection, fierce satire mingles with warmth and pathos as Lipsyte (The Ask) showcases his knack for stylistic variety and tangles with the thorny human experiences of moving beyond one's past or shedding one's personal baggage. "The Dungeon Master" slowly reveals the middle-track path-to-nowhere existences of a group of boys who gather for after-school fantasy role-play games. Similarly steeped in aggrieved boyhood, "Snacks" presents the agony of being the "fat kid" confronted with the chance to ascend a bit higher in the pecking order via another chubby classmate. In "Deniers," the "three months clean" daughter of a Holocaust survivor meets a man recovering from a different sort of disorder who seeks redemption through her. Such savage, moving pieces are interspersed with more surreal shorts, like "Expressive," which features a man with an unusual visage and a weak moral compass, and "Peasley," wherein "The Man Who Killed the Idea of Tanks in England" contemplates punk rock and his own ignorant role in propagating the horror of trench warfare. Lipsyte's biting humor suffuses the collection, but it's his ability to control the relative darkness of each moment that makes the stories so engrossing. Agent: Eric Simonoff, William Morris Endeavor. (Mar.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Presents a collection of stories featuring such characters as a deranged male birth doula, an aerobics instructor trying to save her soul, and a doomsday hustler.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The author of the New York Times bestseller The Ask presents an entertaining collection of stories, originally published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, or Playboy, that star such characters as a deranged male birth doula and a doomsday hustler. 15,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A hilarious collection of stories from the writer The New York Times called “the novelist of his generation”Returning to the form in which he began, Sam Lipsyte, author of the New York Times bestsellerThe Ask, offers up The Fun Parts, a book of bold, hilarious, and deeply felt fiction. A boy eats his way to self-discovery while another must battle the reality-brandishing monster preying on his fantasy realm. Meanwhile, an aerobics instructor, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, makes the most shocking leap imaginable to save her soul. These are just a few of the stories, some first published inThe New Yorker, The Paris Review, or Playboy, that unfold in Lipsyte’s richly imagined world.Other tales feature a grizzled and possibly deranged male birth doula, a doomsday hustler about to face the multi-universal truth of “the real-ass jumbo,” and a tawdry glimpse of the northern New Jersey high school shot-putting circuit, circa 1986. Combining both the tragicomic dazzle of his beloved novels and the compressed vitality of his classic debut collection, The Fun Partsis Lipsyte at his best—an exploration of new voices and vistas from a writer Time magazine has said “everyone should read.”