The Fun Parts

Sam Lipsyte. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $24 (224p) ISBN 978-0-374-29890-6
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.)
Reviewed on: 11/12/2012
Release date: 03/05/2013
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-4668-3605-1
Paperback - 229 pages - 978-1-250-04359-7
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Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-84708-803-1
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