The Fun Parts is Sam Lipsyte at his very best—a far-ranging exploration of new voices and vistas from "the most consistently funny fiction writer working today" (Time).
A boy eats his way to self-discovery, while another must battle the reality-brandishing monster preying on his fantasy realm. Elsewhere, an aerobics instructor—the daughter of a Holocaust survivor—makes the most shocking leap imaginable to save her soul. These are just a few of the characters you'll encounter in Sam Lipsyte's richly imagined world.
Featuring a grizzled and possibly deranged male doula, a doomsday hustler who must face the multi-universal truth of "the real-ass jumbo," and a tawdry glimpse of a high school shot-putting circuit in northern New Jersey, circa 1986, Lipsyte's short stories combine the tragicomic brilliance of his beloved novels with the compressed vitality of Venus Drive.
In this second story collection, fierce satire mingles with warmth and pathos as Lipsyte (The Ask) showcases his knack for stylistic variety and tangles with the thorny human experiences of moving beyond one's past or shedding one's personal baggage. "The Dungeon Master" slowly reveals the middle-track path-to-nowhere existences of a group of boys who gather for after-school fantasy role-play games. Similarly steeped in aggrieved boyhood, "Snacks" presents the agony of being the "fat kid" confronted with the chance to ascend a bit higher in the pecking order via another chubby classmate. In "Deniers," the "three months clean" daughter of a Holocaust survivor meets a man recovering from a different sort of disorder who seeks redemption through her. Such savage, moving pieces are interspersed with more surreal shorts, like "Expressive," which features a man with an unusual visage and a weak moral compass, and "Peasley," wherein "The Man Who Killed the Idea of Tanks in England" contemplates punk rock and his own ignorant role in propagating the horror of trench warfare. Lipsyte's biting humor suffuses the collection, but it's his ability to control the relative darkness of each moment that makes the stories so engrossing.
The fun parts
If you happen to be a man of such and such of age... If you went to high school and perhaps played a sport while there... If you maybe kissed a pretty girl... If you've ever bullied or been bullied... If you're alive now!!! These words will speak to you profoundly!!!!! BRILLIANT!!!