Sam Lipsyte Books In Order


  1. The Subject Steve (2001)
  2. Home Land (2004)
  3. The Ask (2010)
  4. Hark (2019)


  1. Venus Drive (2000)
  2. The Fun Parts (2013)

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Sam Lipsyte Books Overview

The Subject Steve

The bad news was bad. I was dying. I was dying of something no one had ever died of before. I was dying of something absolutely, fantastically new. The Subject Steve is a dark, dazzling, and totally original satire on human mortality and our desperate efforts to evade it. Meet Steve not his real name, a Special Case, in truth a Terminal Case, and the eponymous antihero of Sam Lipsyte’s savagely funny first novel. Steve has been informed by his two doctors, the Philosopher and the Mechanic, that he is dying of a condition of unquestioned fatality but no discernible physical cause. Eager to brand a new plague with their names, they call it Goldfarb Blackstone Preparatory Extinction Syndrome, or PREXIS for short. The news that this perfectly ordinary postmodern citizen bitter ex husband, quasi deadbeat father, midlife adman, creator of such resonant dot. com slogans as Reality Is for Those Who Dream and How Did You Like Tomorrow? is dying of something that might well be boredom sets off a media frenzy. When his physicians are exposed as frauds, but not his death sentence, he betakes himself upstate to the Center for Nondenominational Recovery and Redemption, founded and ruled by the shadowy and brutal caregiver Heinrich of Newark. From there he will travel to the desert, where the success of a cultish media empire will rest on his demise. But nothing will alter The Subject Steve s inevitable rendezvous with those twin banes of humankind, death and synergy. With the publication of this novel, by turns manic, ebullient and exquisitely deadpan, Sam Lipsyte enters the company of the master American satirists. It is a dark comedy for overlit times. From the Hardcover edition.

Home Land

Welcome to the most twisted high school reunion imaginable, from a rising star of American satire. ‘Sam Lipsyte is a gifted stylist, precise, original, devious, and very funny’ Jeffrey Eugenides, author of Middlesex’It’s confession time, fellow alumni. Ever since Principal Fontana found me and commenced to bless my mail slot, monthly, with the Eastern Valley High School Alumni Newsletter, I’ve been meaning to pen my update. Sad to say, vanity slowed my hand. Let a fever for the truth speed it now. Let me stand on the rooftop of my reckoning and shout naught but the indisputable: I did not pan out. ‘ The Eastern Valley High School alumni newsletter, Catamount Notes, is bursting with tales of success: we’ve got a bankable politician and a famous baseball star, not to mention a major label recording artist. And then there is the appalling, somewhat bitter and yet entirely loveable Lewis Miner, class of ’89 who did not pan out. From perhaps the most gifted of the younger generation of US satirical novelists, Home Land is a marvel of playful prose and sustained invention and very, very funny.

The Ask

Milo Burke, a development officer at a third tier university, has not been developing : after a run in with a well connected undergrad, he finds himself among the burgeoning class of the newly unemployed. Grasping after odd jobs to support his wife and child, Milo is offered one last chance by his former employer: he must reel in a potential donor a major ask who, mysteriously, has requested Milo’s involvement. But it turns out that The Ask is Milo s sinister college classmate Purdy Stuart. And the give won t come cheap. Probing many themes or, perhaps, anxieties including work, war, sex, class, child rearing, romantic comedies, Benjamin Franklin, cooking shows on death row, and the eroticization of chicken wire, The Ask is a burst of genius by a young American master who has already demonstrated that the truly provocative and important fictions are often the funniest ones.

Venus Drive

From the peep palaces of Times Square to the cubicles of corporate America, Sam Lipsyte’s stories wander a dark, comic road full of need and regret. His damaged, searching narrators deliver their reports of addiction, lust, loneliness, grief, and the doomed dream of rock ‘n’ roll with a sly lyricism and eerie spareness that somehow redeem them. Listen to this chorus of gallows humor and goodwill sometimes gone bad and hear wild voices rise out of the din of city living: Gary is a failed punk icon turned petty drug dealer and amateur self actualization guru; the Chersky girl makes a strange midnight discovery roller skating through a Depression era morgue. Pot dazed Trotskyists, summer camp sadists, and babysitters with an eye toward erotic humiliation also make themselves known in the lost, shattered landscapes of Lipsyte’s fictions. ‘When you have an old soul like I do,’ deadpans one hero, ‘everything gets old really quick. Nothing is new. An avocado, a glass of beer, everything tastes like it’s been sitting out on a table too long.’ These stories, loosely linked in character and setting, recall the stark realism of Denis Johnson and the wild humor of Barry Hannah. In these poignant, sharp witted tales, Sam Lipsyte proves himself one of today’s most visceral and fearless short story writers.

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