Barry starts this review by calling Lipsyte’s prose “hilarious,” which always sets off my bullshit detector. There are billions of writers in the world, and a fair number are funny, but only about six are hilarious. Luckily, Barry (whose latest novel was very well written but not very good) recovers and gives us a lengthy quote as a litmus test. “So do you like it or not?” he says after the quote. “Is that ‘rat-chewed velveteen’ a clinching micro-detail or too much information? Where does hallucinatory closeup bleed into overkill? Where you stand on such questions will largely dictate where you stand on Lipsyte.” I love reviewers who can allow for other opinions. And I did like that passage, and might just take my chances that Lipsyte is hilarious writer #7.
This was a better review than I anticipated, coming from the author of a book I hated. Langer stays even-handed, but lets us know that the labyrinthine style of the title pervades the entire novel, and that there’s little humor or respite in this tale of a horribly abusive husband. I’ll avoid this one.
Charles absolutely raves over this account of a “nice guy” in New York who doesn’t understand why his ex-girlfriends all hate him. Sounds good enough that I’ll even overlook Charles’s comparison to Girls.