Just kidding. But really, I wanted to quit after two pages. I decided to be generous and gave it two chapters. Let's consider it abandoned. Life's too short. I'd been looking forward to reading it since it came out, when it won the Believer Book Award. I love the Believer—the articles at least—but their taste in books can be a little off sometimes. (Not to mention their hit-or-miss taste in poetry, which they don't seem to know much about.)
Anyway, people keep saying how funny Lipsyte is, but if this is your idea of funny, I don't know what to tell you. Making an attempt to be funny isn't the same thing as being funny. "Witty" turns of phrase and piles of quirky details ≠ comedy. George Saunders is funny. Trying to sound like George Saunders is not funny. Trying to sound like George Saunders and failing is the same as trying to sound like Zach Braff and succeeding.
The Believer said,
A yearbook’s worth of rue poured into a one-sided correspondence, a laughline-laden entertainment that’s also an oblique political razz: Sam Lipsyte’s very American second novel, Home Land, came out across the pond in 2004, and only now appears on native soil. If it’s true that, in this era of our New Patriotism, stateside publishers balked at Home Land’s less-than-rosy depiction of the way we live now, perhaps it’s appropriate that the book finally emerges post-election, as divisions on the domestic front seem to widen by the week.
Um, maybe stateside publishers balked at it because it sucks.
The Believer also said,
Okay, like I said, I only read the first two chapters, so I'm going to stop here and just leave you with this advice: Don't bother.