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Hot Pink

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  816 ratings  ·  111 reviews
Adam Levin’s debut novel The Instructions was one of the most buzzed-about books of 2010, a sprawling universe of “death-defying sentences, manic wit, exciting provocations and simple human warmth” (Rolling Stone).

Now, in the stories of Hot Pink, Levin delivers ten smaller worlds, shaken snow-globes of overweight romantics, legless prodigies, quixotic dollmakers, Chicagola
Hardcover, 207 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by McSweeney's (first published February 7th 2012)
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i didn't hem and haw over my star rating the way mfso did. this is an easy four stars. i loved reading it, but - nature of the beast - not every story was perfection. i lost no sleep over my rating.


do you want the good news or the bad news?

the good news is, adam levin does not need 2000 pages to make his points.

the bad news is, in some of these stories, i feel like he was unconsciously punishing himself, foot-binding himself into smaller containers so that he didn't spill over int
No one probably noticed, but I've been on a bit of a review vacation lately. This is probably good news for the couple of people who have let me know in the last week that no one cares to read about (x) where x is whatever it is that I'm writing about that person y feels is not relevant or not sharing in their own opinion on a matter. Y's opinion of x hasn't been the reason G (that would be for Greg) hasn't been writing reviews, or sharing more x with the world. I've just been feeling overwhelme ...more
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
I hate using stars. I wish I'd never started. I didn't realize you could add books without adding stars until long after having joined Goodreads. It's too late to stop and revise hundreds of ratings. In too deep to turn back now. I think everyone is aware of how problematic and nerve-wracking and inaccurate the stars can be, so I'm going to avoid a boring and prolonged explanation, which has already been given by others many times over on this site. I'll just say that there was a near-constant b ...more
Even though this is coming out in 2012, it still made my CCLaP best-of-2011 list, because I am awesome (and a proofreader) and I got to read it early.

I'm not really going to tell you much about it because I don't want to blow up McSweeney's spot, but look: Did you like The Instructions ? Did you think it was probably the greatest sprawling modern epic novel of 2010, if not the greatest sprawling modern epic novel ever? Then you will love the short stories in Hot Pink. Maybe not quite as much,
David Katzman
Mar 26, 2012 David Katzman rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of experimental writing, unusual short stories, and edgy prose
A sharp collection of spicy experimental stories.

Certainly, the star of this collection is the candy-colored language. Hot Pink is filled with unexpected angles, jarring juxtapositions, and electrically charged word snaps. In other words … Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

I don’t even know what that has to do with this. Nothing, damnit.

I will admit that it took me a while to get into this. The non-realistic narratives threw me off at first, but once I got into the flow of it, the stories
Hot Pink Pussy

1/2 oz Firewater cinnamon schnapps
1 oz Tequila Rose strawberry cream liqueur

Chill ingredients before using. Pour Tequila Rose into shot glass and float Firewater schnapps on top.
This is yet another contemporary author who schtick I simply don't get. It's completely possible that my disengagement from popular culture and/or pastimes has made me somewhat of an idiot savant, only conversant in the one or two topics that I'm well informed on and interested in, so if this book is saying something about the youth of today, I may have missed the boat or am simply not cool enough to be in the know.

I guess I was hoping, quite naively, for a jokey, humorous, ironic tone, kind of
Adam Levin continues to be amazing. I loved his first novel, The Instructions, and this collection of stories is a worthy successor. Levin's writing has a certain very enjoyable atmosphere that is like nothing I've ever seen anywhere else, and that is very difficult for me to describe (meaning that it's impossible for me to write anything resembling a satisfying review of a Levin book). Something to do with the particularity and peculiarity of moment-to-moment thoughts.

If you're curious about Le
Levin's fiction pulsates like flexing muscles. There is a brutal edge to a lot of his writing, though there can also be delicate emotion, that seems to perfectly voice the time in which we are currently living. Sometimes bizarre, these stories are always interesting and prove for me beyond any doubt that Levin's unique voice in "The Instructions" was in no way a fluke but instead heralded the arrival of an important modern writer.
Adam Levin is offbeat, smart, and genuinely funny. He pays attention to people in the margins, and he's as adept in the short story form as in his mammoth novel The Instructions.

Two of the stories in the collection, "Relations" and "How to Play The Guy" felt a little too detached and conceptual for my taste, but it was all interesting, rewarding reading.
There's something about the way Adam Levin plays with your expectations of innocence. For all the shocking, fucked-up shit they engage in, his characters are psychologically vulnerable and sheltered. In a way, each of the stories in Hot Pink is a study of human interaction as performance; this is how we act when we think others are looking. Hell, this is how we act when no one is looking, when the only person we're trying to fool is the self. The climax of each story tends to be the moment when ...more
Dec 19, 2012 Alan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Angry young men
Recommended to Alan by: Previous work
The first thing you have to understand is that Adam Levin's short-story collection Hot Pink is nothing like his massive—and impressive—novel from 2010, The Instructions. If that sort of sustained impact is what you're looking for, you won't find it here; the stories in Hot Pink are for the most part relatively straightforward slices of (admittedly rather bizarre) life. There's just not as much room to stretch out here as there was in Levin's blockbuster novel.

I didn't always like these pieces, e
I just really love Adam Levin. Even though I didn't necessarily adore the story of every story in this collection, I still loved the delivery so much that I'd rank Hot Pink in my top few short story collections. Mr. Levin's style seems so new and original to me, with just the right amount of experiment and pretension to make me feel smart. And (dare I say it?) something about this book reminded me a bit of DFW. And it made me want to read The Instructions again.

(Major thanks to my cousin Rachel
Scott Adelson
The literary world is staring at Adam Levin. How could they not? His first novel, massive and reportedly brilliant in both concept and language (The Instructions, 2010) was met with immediate acclaim and comparisons to the late David Foster Wallace. Mercifully, Levin’s follow up, Hot Pink, is a wonderfully manageable, wildly creative and deeply insightful collection of short stories. Love is a theme (though an extremely unreliable ally) for Levin’s characters as they march through personal chang ...more
It's a wonderful thing to discover a new favorite writer, especially a (relatively) young one from whom I expect many great books over the coming years. I already knew I loved Levin's writing a few pages into The Instructions (and then 100 pages in, and then 400 pages in, and then 1000 pages in . . .). The stories in Hot Pink merely solidify that status. My only complaint is that, being exactly Mr. Levin's target demo, I am a subscriber to McSweeney's, and have thus read a number of these storie ...more
Ry Pickard
it’s crazy how distinct adam levin’s style is after having published only one book before this. if you read the instructions and then just happened to stumble across one of these stories, it would take you about five pages to figure out who wrote it. his writing is almost like the literary version of a 3d movie: the words feel like they're jumping off of the page. i guess the book could best be described as a collection of really fu#*ed up love stories. i’d been waiting on this to come out for a ...more
Sameer Vasta
The main reason I enjoy reading short fiction is because it is a genre that lends itself to experimentation. Unlike longer pieces of fiction, short stories provide a format that allows for play, exploration, and trial and error; it is easier to try something new and crazy in a short story because successes and failures both end after a few pages. The writer quickly moves on, and so do we, as readers.

In Hot Pink, Adam Levin experiments freely and isn’t afraid to fall flat. (He rarely does fall, i
This was good and I definitely still like Adam Levin and will slavishly follow him through the McSweeney's aisle of the store in my brain, but I felt like I read all the best bits already throughout the different internet establishments (or issues of MSs) lucky enough to get an 'excerpt' of Hot Pink. What was left was not bad but not great and eh but I read the whole thing.
Recommended for specific fans of Levin or people who do not know internet.
I haven't read Levin's The Instructions yet but it's on my bookshelf and after reading through a galley of his first story collection, Hot Pink, I'm eager to dive into His Big Book. Though the influence of George Saunders comes through from time to time, Levin's stories are something else entirely. Violence is commonplace. Love is sincere but confusing and misguided. And of course they're all funny.
Levin's rhetorical, rabbinical style carries this darker and less polished collection. Had I read this first, I would not have predicted The Instructions. I am looking forward to what is next.
His stories are disturbing ... brilliantly written, but often emotionally violent, with an undertone, even in adults, of adolescent thinking. Can't put them down, not sure if I like them. And can't wait for his next book.

"The Instructions" was one of a few, all-time favorite books of mine.
Ali Ünal
This book contains stories, type of which I really don't like in general. Well written? Sure, but sometimes gimmicks steal the stage from the characters -if any- and the story itself. I had trouble being immersed in any of the stories or characters therein, so I wasn't impressed. A couple of minute passed since I finished the book, but I cannot single out any story or any character as being particularly noteworthy or impressive. OK, I liked Hot Pink, but that's all. It was like a summer breeze r ...more
Luis Correa
A lot of these are neat experiments, but it didn't have the room that Levin prospers in. Funny, exciting, and a little strange. Displays the same ferocity and kindness from The Instructions.
Levin's stories are filled with playful language. There are a lot of games in the short volume, which can quickly shift from fun to playing for keeps.
This book is the right kind of clever. Fun, heartfelt language gaming throughout. Highlights: Frankenwittgenstein, Jane Tell, Hot Pink.
Very fine collection Several of the stories are truly exceptional: Finch, Jane Tell, and Hot Pink. They're all very odd but still very believable. Some of the others have somewhat of a postmodern quality, or deliberate weirdness that was good but just not as good. Frankenwittgenstein, Considering the Bittersweet End of Susan Falls, and RSVP almost made it into the exceptional class. A couple of others were more like class writing assignments: Relating and the Extra Mile, the latter fun but that' ...more
Alan Chen
This collection is closer to a 3.5 then a 4 but I chose to round up. I found nothing wrong with the collection, I enjoyed reading them, but I doubt they'll be memorable enough for me to retain in the long run. The first piece about a dad who becomes obsessed with creating an anatomical doll that eliminates wastes to help bulimic children was imaginative and well fleshed out. A lot of the other stories started off well: like the eponymous hot pink: angsty teenager unable to espouse love to a girl ...more
“We're quiet for a minute, plate-gazing. It's one me to break the silence” (23).
“I'd stolen his fire. Or at the very least I'd stolen part of his fire” (54).
“ stats are reliable. Unless I mean significant. I get it confused sometimes, the difference between reliability and significance...” (62).
“I heard him tell my ma that if he told me I couldn't hang out with that delinquent wop son of a wife-beating degenerate gambler wop, then I'd never learn that that's what he was. A delinquent wop” (
The various universes encountered in Adam Levin's short story collection are all driven by love. Sadly, in most cases, the love proves to be destructive for the parties involved, opening up wounds both physical and metaphysical. We open with a father's desire to create the perfect doll - one that actually replicates eating - and the alteration of his family life as the big companies force him to tweak the design over and over in "Frankenwittgenstein." Susan Falls has lost her legs due to a traff ...more
When Christian Tebordo introduced Adam Levin at the Tire Fire Series reading, he said that reading AL makes you want to quit writing forever because Adam is so good you can’t possibly or would want to write anything ever again. But then also, yes, keep writing. He inspires you to improve yourself, to do your best, keep up, excel your own expectations, do the thing that it is you do which is and must be: write.
This is almost the exact way I read through this collection of stories.
At first I fel
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Adam Levin’s debut novel, The Instructions was published in late 2010. His stories have appeared in Tin House, McSweeney’s, and Esquire. Winner of the 2003 Tin House/Summer Literary Seminars Fiction Contest and the 2004 Joyce Carol Oates Fiction Prize, Levin holds an MA in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago and an MFA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. His collection of ...more
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“You fucked up,' he said. 'Know that you're someone who fucked up. But know that doesn't make you a fuckup. The difference is a matter of repetition” 5 likes
“We can't just have everything without complications, you and I. There'd be no story without complications. With nothing to overcome, we'd die unstoried deaths.” 4 likes
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