Synopses & Reviews
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 bestseller The 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 in The 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 Parts is Lipsyte at his best — an exploration of new voices and vistas from a writer Time magazine has said “everyone should read.”
"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." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Lipsyte expertly works the line between hilarity and pathos." Ben Fountain, The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Sam Lipsyte is the author of Venus Drive, The Subject Steve, Home Land, and The Ask, the latter two New York Times Notable Books. He won the first annual Believer Book Award and was a 2008 Guggenheim Fellow. He teaches writing at Columbia Universitys School of the Arts.