Sunday, April 18, 2010

If you thought Sam Lipsyte's Home Land was funny, I'm not sure we can be friends anymore.

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,
Family life and the inescapable hierarchy of school are Home Land’s fattest targets, but the author’s packing blunderbuss, playfully blasting recovered memories, neo-sincere modern rock, academic plagiarism, and internet fetish porn.

Um, easy targets much? Fish in a barrel much?

In a review of his new novel, The Ask, the Believer says, "There isn’t a funnier author working today."

Um, do you even know what an author is? Because you obviously don't know what funny is.

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.


  1. Consensus is not literature's friend. Call it like you see it!

  2. i just wish other people would call it like i see it too!

  3. Consensus is not literature's friend! But it does get lonely when everybody says I have to read a book that hurts my wittle head.

    But what do I care what everybody says?

  4. I haven't read this, but I feel the same way about DeLillo. I tried, oh how I tried, to finish White Noise. That book bored me to death.

  5. aaack! i LOVED white noise. lipsyte doesn't hold one thin wax sliver of a candle to delillo.

  6. I wasn't comparing. DeLillo is bullshit...and inflated "bestseller."

  7. I haven't read Lipsyte, so I can't state anything about his work. However, I've heard that Homeland is one of the weaker books of his. Have you tried anything else? Conversely, is there anything of DeLillo's (in your opinion) that will convert me?

  8. nah, haven't tried any other lipsyte. with delillo, the only ones i've read are white noise and the body artist. i'm reading great jones street right now.

  9. off topic: did you ever have time to finish Infinite Jest?

  10. i did have time, but i squandered it completely. still only about 150 pages in.