Synopses & Reviews
What if somebody finally wrote to his high school alumni bulletin and told...the truth! Here is an update from hell, and the most brilliant work to date, by the novelist whom Jeffrey Eugenides calls "original, devious, and very funny" and of whose first novel Chuck Palahniuk wrote, "I laughed out loud and I never laugh out loud."
The Eastern Valley High School Alumni newsletter, Catamount Notes, is bursting with tales of success: former students include a bankable politician and a famous baseball star, not to mention a major-label recording artist. Then there is the appalling, yet utterly lovable, Lewis Miner, class of '89 a.k.a Teabag who did not pan out. This is his confession in all its bitter, lovelorn glory.
"Former Feed editor Lipsyte was one of the young writers to come out of Open City's initial rise in the '90s; his collection of short stories was followed by 2001's The Subject Steve, a kind of condensed Infinite Jest. This second novel is written as a series of insanely baroque, inappropriately intimate letters to a high school alumni newsletter, 20 or so years after graduation. The letters' fictional author, Lewis Miner, aka 'Teabag,' is clearly lucid enough to know that the letters could never be printed, let alone appreciated by what emerge as his philistine fellow graduates, but he persists anyway. That giddy, passing-itself-off-as-ordinary persistence becomes the point of the novel, which presents lives that continue in the face of crushing, banal and heartbreaking failures. Lewis can barely make his rent payments, is employed writing 'FakeFacts' for a cola outfit and is recovering from his fiance's recent departure. He and his clique of Eastern Valley High leftovers cope as best they can, taunting and analyzing one another unceasingly. The novel climaxes, if it can be called that, at a surreal gathering of former classmates dubbed a Togethering. At every turn, Lipsyte plays on the clichés of the stuck-white-aging-male, though he embellishes them with sharp dialogue. That the novel is an unpleasant, static read is a sign of its uncompromising, mise-en-abyme success. Agent, Ira Silverberg at Donadio & Olsen. (Jan. 3)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"More marijuana moonbeams from reefer-brained Lipsyte....Many who enter will soon find themselves tripping over phrases and sentences so dishearteningly opaque that deconstructing the narrator's glancing shots at originality will become too tiring to bear." Kirkus Reviews
"Lipsyte's vision of our collective existence is so accurately skewed, there is no escaping the delirious and beautifully disturbing shock of recognition. Writing this deep is rare enough writing this deep and this hysterical pretty much didn't exist until Lipsyte began pouring it onto the page." Jerry Stahl, author of I, Fatty
"Lipsyte is playful and lewd, bleak and farcical, walking a fine line between near-glib humour and a genuine existential fear one could even call Beckettian....Sam Lipsyte can really write." Aida Edamariam, The Guardian
"Sam Lipsyte has got balls the size of watermelons. He's ripped the piss out of his Yank countrymen so much that he gets published here in the UK first. He's one wicked sod. You'll love it." Lads (U.K.)
"[A]s Lipsyte pointedly shows, Miner is less a loser than an avatar of failure, a high priest of defects. What he truly wants is to enlighten those of us who have yet to acknowledge our own flaws in other words, almost everybody." Lizzie Skurnick, The New York Times Book Review
"Lipsyte writes the way you wish you could talk. He's smart without pretense. He's funny when the situation most calls for tears. And in Miner, he's found the guy who sat in the back of your English class who you suspected was either really stoned or really brilliant. It turns out that he's both....Home Land
is the kind of book that gets passed around, underlined, dog-eared. It's the kind of book you give to the guy who says he doesn't like books." Benjamin Alsup, Esquire
(read the entire Esquire review
About the Author
Sam Lipsyte was born in 1968. He is the author of the story collection Venus Drive
(named one of the top twenty-five books of its year by the Voice Literary Supplement) and the novel The Subject Steve
. He lives in Astoria, Queens.