The Fun Parts
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The Fun Parts

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  731 ratings  ·  129 reviews
A hilarious collection of stories from the writer The New York Times called “the novelist of his generation”

Returning to the form in which he began, Sam Lipsyte, author of the New York Times bestseller The Ask, offers up The Fun Parts, a book of bold, hilarious, and deeply felt fiction.A boy eats his way to self-discovery while another must battle the reality-brandishing m...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by FSG
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I liked but didn't love The Fun Parts. But I was close. Three and a half-stars, I think, because of Lipsyte's talent with turning out subtle, funny phrases at a heady rate. None of the stories bored me, and a few neared transcendence (esp. the first one, with a young woman getting older, perhaps pining for the safety of a rich man with a son at the school where she's a teaching assistant, and the one with the male doula (doulo?) who starts to lose his mind. The dungeons and dragons story was gre...more
I picked this book up because reviews said he was funny. Since I'm always in the market for humor and short stories are a nice change of pace, I was all gung-ho to read this book. Having read it now, the two stars is a nod to his ability to write, not the content. Put me in the column of folks not impressed by tragi-comedy. These stories are flat-out depressing, at times gross, consisting of characters I cannot connect with at all. I'm impressed with Lipsyte's ability but nothing else.

More revie...more
I’m testing a theory that where you fall on the Lipsyte-ometer can be determined by what this passage does to the reading parts of your brain -- specifically the last sentence:

“Ypsilanti was easy to leave. I wasn’t from there. I’d just landed there. The Michigan Eviscerations had begun in Manhattan. Martha was a junior at NYU, heiress to a fuel-injection fortune. I was a cheeky barista who kept penciling my phone number on her latte’s heat sleeve. Cheeky and, I should add, quite hairy. Martha f...more
billed at hilarious, struck me rather as hysterical and cynical. perhaps it's a nyc thing? good stories though, with lots of rich detail and character and plot packed into 10 or so pages. here is a tiny bit from opening of "the republic of empathy"
But Peg really wanted another baby, said we owed Philip a bother or sister. That seemed like a pretty huge debt. What do you do for the second child? Have a third?
'Peg," I said. But I had no follow-up. Or was it follow-through?
I find it strange that whenever I read story collections that include pieces originally published in the New Yorker, I can usually tell. I found the NYer stories in The Fun Parts are actually the least fun of the bunch. And I feel the same way with George Saunders NYer stories most of the time too. What is it? Do the editors there suck something out of their stories before sending them to print?
Well, that being said, the REST of the new Lipsyte collection is 5-star action up the ying yang! "Snac...more
Joseph Michael Owens
pg. 101: "...[W]e earn our fee on the second day... Yesterday the Gottwalds were the stunned and grateful progenitors of a mewling miracle. Today [they] are the smug bastards they've probably always been. and the Gottwald baby, well, he, might be only two days old, but I can already predict he's going to be a miserable little turd."
Emily Simpson
This is a generous three stars. Do I think Sam Lipsyte is a good writer? I do. Do I think this collection is representative of his full capabilities? I absolutely don't. For the most part in The Fun Parts, Sam takes people with problems (self-image or socially stemming ones, work-related gripes, or oftentimes all of these) and throws a wrench into their works. Fine so far.

It's mostly with his stylistic choices I take issue. Sam can spin an okay yarn in sense that he always grounds us on literal...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Sam Lipsyte has an ability to make me laugh uncomfortably, the way you would do after having a shared awkward experience where someone loses it in front of you. The characters in his short stories are always out of place, trying to cope with reality, failing, and the author is not afraid to push their scenarios to the most outrageous conclusion.

My favorites - The Climber Room (for the ending), The Wisdom of the Doulas (is the male doula "doulo" crazy, or is the world?).

Also - don't have kids. W...more
Sometimes great, sometimes just too clever. With short story collections, I'm used to finding one story a hit and the next one not so much. Here, the first part of a story would dazzle me, and then the rest would disappoint. Some brilliant dialogue, though. A 3.5 star for me.
Matt Holloway
Sam Lipsyte is the funniest, most lyrical prose writer alive today. That said, he's clearly rushed this one out to benefit his growing family. Well, Sam, congrats on the kid. For the next book, please try harder.
Bill Breedlove
I read some of the other reader reviews with dismay, but to each his/her own and all that, I guess. I was not familiar with Mr. Lipsyte's work, having only read the leadoff story--"The Climber Room"--in the New Yorker. I recalled enjoying that story when I read it, but not being motivated enough to look up the author and seek out other works--although I tend to read the New Yorker before bed in the evening, and by the time I get to the fiction, after reading very long, very detailed articles, I...more
Jenny Shank

Book review: ‘The Fun Parts,’ by Sam Lipsyte
By JENNY SHANK Special Contributor
Published: 16 March 2013 11:26 AM

The warm reception for Sam Lipsyte’s most recent novels, Homeland and The Ask, enhanced his reputation for savage and profane satire. But if you’re the sort of reader who craves endearing characters along with wild scenarios and funny dialogue, Lipsyte’s stories might be the place to start.

The 13 stories in The Fun Parts delve into the lives of hi...more
John Spillane
I enjoyed this a billion times more than The Tenth of December by George Saunders, but The Ask is a top top fav so I guess that makes me a fan boy. Without even taking the length into consideration The Fun Parts is solid 4.5 stars; .5, for now, withheld because because hmm, something to do with the horribly bleak outlook of the book/characters. I, like many, cringe when I hear "short story collection", but I plowed through this, looked forward to sitting back down with it, and felt like I was be...more
Justin Dobbs
This is a review of the title and cover, since I have not read the book. I have not read the book because it has yet to be released. I have no complaint in regard to the book not yet being released, I only mention it to absolve myself of the responsibility for the reading of a book in its entirety.

Now on to the meat of the "review.":

I think it is a very clever cover and the title is even more clever than I had anticipated, even from Lipsyte, so much that I had said to myself, "Leave it to Sam Li...more
Po Po
Crude, debauched, and 110% outrageous. Every character is bloody rotten to the core.

Phrases I now want to use:
"stinky sweet snapper hole" and "teen poot"

A snippet:
"But life gets really murky sometimes."
"It's true, honey. Like a fish tank nobody cleans. Just fish shit and dead fish. But that's how you know it's life."

Not a book I would suggest to my parents, or any old(er) sensitive folks.
I have mixed feelings about The Fun Parts . I do enjoy Lipsyte's humor - dry, sarcastic, hidden innuendos, and sometimes just plain funny. I chuckled out loud several times and enjoyed it as a whole. A few standouts - "The Climber Room" is the story of Tovah Gold, a 36-year-old pre-K teacher who yearns to write poetry. The central character in "Deniers," the best story in the book, is Mandy Gottlieb, a 30-year-old woman who teaches cardio ballet at the Jewish Community Center in her New Jersey t...more
Nel leggere il titolo, "La parte divertente", mi aspettavo di ridere, almeno un pochino. Mi aspettavo storie magari anche macabre, ma con un lato leggero, e magari con un pizzico di speranza.
Tutto questo però, a parte nel primo racconto, non l'ho visto nemmeno col binocolo.
E ho anche capito che io e i libri di racconti non siamo fatti l'uno per l'altra.
Passi il fatto che si fa fatica ad appassionarsi ai personaggi, sia perchè, appunto, di lì a poche pagine la storia finisce, sia perchè sono anni...more
I don't know what "twee" means. I've heard it used to describe things, and those things are usually a combination of cute and snarky, and they seem to emanate from Brooklyn. Which is exactly how I think of The Fun Parts, with many of its cute and snarky stories taking place in and around the city.

Lipsyte is absurdly talented - there is not doubt about that. Some of his sentences seem so convoluted that I shouldn't understand them, and yet I do. He gets the current cultural zeitgeist - his charac...more
James (JD) Dittes
I've never been to Brooklyn.

I have seen Brooklyn from across the East River several times on visits to The City that never lasted longer than two days, walking along the riverfront, posing for touristy photos with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background.

But I've never been to Brooklyn. I don't claim to be a history or even garden-variety sophisticate in any manner other than some of the [ages of books that fly past my eyeballs.

This is just to say that I didn't get the humor in this book. I could s...more
Wasn't a wholly uninteresting book for me, but the stories, the writing and Lipsyte's wit never rose above a moderate enjoyment for me. Some of the stories were a little boring to me. Even the more clever ones in the collection felt "forced" to me, an impression that Lipsyte was just trying to write something that ought to work rather than just letting it flow naturally.
David Winters
Lipsyte has always been at his stylistic best in the short form. While The Fun Parts does contain a couple of overcooked duds (e.g. "The Republic of Empathy"), they don't really detract from this cruelly funny collection. My review is here.
Loved this collection. My faves were "Deniers," "This Appointment," "Snacks," and "Wisdom of the Doulas." "The Worm in Philly" and "Expressive" were goddamn brilliant.

Great sentences, decadent humor, excellent masturbation scenes- it's all here.

Wish there were more contemporary collections like this one.
Hank Stuever
Fan-f***cking- tastic. So enjoyed these short stories by a writer I've always deeply admired and flat-out envied. Nice to see what it looks like when he's just noodling around. Not a sentence wasted-- the discipline is as striking as the humor. Saved it for vacation this week and so happy I did. Bravo.
Reading one story at a time. They read like they've been written by Louis CK. Sharp, funny, disquieting, true. Overdue at the library. Decided to Read some of the stories a second time before returning the book.
Humorous but not terribly funny. The humor is derived from the exploits of off-balance people who have no clue they aren't well. I have a feeling I will think back on these stories and time will skew their impact.
Brian Grover
I'm a fan of Lipsyte's stuff - I can't think of anyone who writes funnier dialogue. The humor is black as coal, which I have no objection to. That said, this book is just a relentless procession of gigantic, gigantic losers with almost no redeeming qualities/abilities, and honestly that wore me down as I made my way through it. These stories are close cousins to a George Saunders book, but Saunders sprinkles enough hope in the pathos to get you to buy in emotionally. With Lipsyte, it's all just...more
Scott Paul
Sam Lipsyte has an exceptional talent for describing the pathetic, the impotent, and the sqalid; that much is certain. His most recent novel, The Ask was so filled with the weary defeat and the indignities of middle age that it often felt like watching some gory torture-filled grind-house picture, laughing and trying not to cringe even as the main character just attempts to have a conversation with his mother. However, I was unable to finish his first,The Subject Steve as it was so arch, self-lo...more
Allen Adams

Sam Lipsyte’s newest book “The Fun Parts” is that rare collection that carries the art of short fiction forward into full bloom. It’s a baker’s dozen worth of postcards from the edge; each of the 13 stories is a glimpse at the people existing on the fringe. The characters populating Lipsyte’s literary landscape aren’t the sort that the reader is meant to love – or even to like, to be truthful – but they are brought to life with sharply-honed cleverness and...more
Michael Bryson
A quick look through the GoodReads reviews of this book suggested many of Lipsyte's fans were disappointed with the new collection, The Fun Parts.

For the life of me, I'm not sure why.

I started Lipsyte's Venus Drive a few years ago and couldn't get into it. The timing wasn't right for me, or something.

After finishing The Fun Parts, however, I'm ready to try again.

The new collection has 13 stories. They are darkly humorous. There is foul language, sexual themes, drug use, gun play and death. Som...more
Feb 22, 2014 Derek rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone that maintain their sense of humor when staring into the abyss
The whole book is hilarious and beautifully written, but I especially appreciated the last story—"The Real-Ass Jumbo"—because its subject matter is also mine (see my two Crash Gordon books, or even my old review of Daniel Pinchbeck's 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl). I'd love to buy Sam Lipsyte a few rounds of Belgian ale someday and have a flippant conversation with him about Gnosticism, Archons, and the more fucked up manifestations of our seemingly shared daimonic reality.
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Sam 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.
More about Sam Lipsyte...
The Ask Home Land Venus Drive The Subject Steve The Dungeon Master

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“Yes, we could solve for why, but we could also eat another slice of coconut cake.” 1 likes
“You think you know yourself, the world. You believe you've got a bead on everybody else's bullshit, but what about your own?” 1 likes
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