Read Venus Drive. Sam Lipsyte by Sam Lipsyte Free Online
Book Title: Venus Drive. Sam Lipsyte|
The author of the book: Sam Lipsyte
ISBN 13: 9780007292165
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 5.96 MB
Date of issue: January 1st 2008
Read full description of the books Venus Drive. Sam Lipsyte:This is another shorts collection where any single story in it could convince me that the guy is a genius, but I found the whole of it to be a bit less than the sum of its parts. Sort of how I felt about that Joy Williams collection, and that last George Saunders collection I read. Geniuses all, but maybe I shouldn't read their stories all in one sitting like that.
I adored certain stories where Lipsyte has all his skills in tight control around a driving purpose -- the first story, Old Soul, is like that for me, and so is Admiral of the Swiss Navy. There are some other stories, though, where I feel he's Doing His Writer Voice just a little bit too hard, in a way that either buries the reality or tries to obscure the fact that there's not actually a story there at all. And he leans on a couple tropes: druggie behavior, poignantly dying relatives, the banality of offices ... the bourgeois problems of characters who lack real problems. There are a lot of moments I'd call "too MFA-ey."
But shit, the writing is gorgeous! It's full of cutting phrases and lovely lines. I'm very glad Nick lent me this. I live for this kind of stuff.
I guess the thing I'm trying to begrudge Sam Lipsyte in this otherwise four-star review of his book is that some short story collections don't work right. Every story in them can be perfect but when I read them serially I sometimes end up more focused on the writer than the story. I start to notice their tricks, their obsessions, their tropes, the things they repeat. I snap into Student Of The Craft Of Writing mode, which is a buzzkill but very important to me lately for work reasons.
So what is the thing that hurts this? Is it the recycling? The image of a drugged girl twitching in a chair was striking the first time, but then reused two stories later it only served to crash my suspension of disbelief. Is it the doomed-ness? These characters never get better, never overcome, never right wrongs or apologize -- they just chuckle and watch themselves descend. Some people are like that, but I hope not everybody. Though I hate to call out for happy endings and character arcs, there's something cumulatively numbing when I read too many stories about broken people in one afternoon.
But all that aside, the long and short of it is: this is Sam Lipsyte's first story collection, and it's better than mine. Its eloquent degeneracy has brought comparisons to Denis Johnson -- by which people usually mean Jesus' Son rather than anything else Johnson ever wrote. But Johnson tells his stories with an autobiographical wistfulness and a recovered junkie's embarrassment. Lipsyte's narrators are jaded veteran fuckups who recount their failures bravely, in the moment and without apology. It reminds me of some entertaining crackheads I've known.
Obviously, this book is not for the kittens and unicorns crowd, but it's the kind of thing I love. I recommend it in small doses. Now I'm going to go read his first novel, and then maybe his second one.
Read information about the authorSam Lipsyte was born in 1968. He is the author of the story collection Venus Drive (named one of the top twenty-five book of its year by the Village Voice Supplement) and the novels The Subject of Steve and Home Land, winner of the Believer Book Award. Lipsyte teaches at Columbia Universitys School of The Arts and is a 2008 Guggenheim Fellow. He lives in Manhattan.
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