The Fun Parts

Editorial reviews

The Fun Parts

When I read the stories again, I thought they were brilliant – by now, I could see that Lipsyte’s understanding of modern spite, rage and self-destruction is peerless. He drags you in.

While the prose is flawless, the stories themselves begin to feel repetitive early on. What’s striking is the lack of a sense of struggle on the part of the writer. Words don’t come that easily to anyone.

Lipsyte is a brilliant wordsmith, and evidence of his skill is plentiful in this book, even more, arguably, than in his earlier works, including "The Ask" and "Home Land."

Lipsyte’s talent for wringing pathos from absurdity increases exponentially as his subjects grow in peculiarity, but he doesn’t treat them as freaks; instead, their oddness empowers them.

Like George Saunders, Lipsyte's work gnaws on the mundane degradations of daily life, heightened by an absurd and amused point of view.

“The Fun Parts” has fine moments, but it’s not the whole Lipsyte story. Read it with “The Ask” if you really want to know how a mordant jokester with a madman’s imagination became a literary rock star.

The best stories in the book are those in which Lipsyte deviates the furthest from this formula. But he more than makes up for his narrow focus with his gift for one-liners and his thoughtful, energetic prose.

The fun parts? Sure, the fun parts. And pretty much everything else, too.