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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  483 ratings  ·  79 reviews
We now enter: Total Isolation

Rontel is the story of one man’s odyssey through Chicago. Follow him as he attempts to go to his last day of work. Follow him through the subway as he considers stealing chips from a dancing baby. Find him being threatened by a homeless man holding board games. Take his hand as he considers building a hydraulic cocoon for his cat out of a compl
Paperback, 87 pages
Published February 1st 2013 by Lazy Fascist Press (first published November 5th 2012)
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I love everything I've ever read by Sam Pink, and this one was great, definitely a favorite. Pink's honesty is hilarious, and I love that I can find a bit of myself in his writing.

"Always felt like, if I could pause time, I'd just go around and break everything then un-pause time, leaving people unharmed but everything else broken, even clouds, mountains, and the sun, maybe a fish or two as well."

Me too.

The Valentine's Day edition of the ebook included Pink's personal phone number and a promise
Gregor Xane
This is a stream of consciousness, slice-of-life novella about a depressed guy with suicidal tendencies walking around Chicago for a day. Oh, and it has nothing resembling a plot. Nearly all the “action” of the piece takes place in the main character’s head. And, yet, despite all of this, it’s a highly entertaining and funny read. Recommended to those who aren't put off by anything written in the first few sentences of this review.
This book is... amazing. It had me in hysterics, most often while I was walking around reading it in public places where I felt very conspicuous.

I think I relate too much to this insane character.

This is highly readable, enjoyable, experimental literature. Some scenes might rub you the wrong way, though (e.g. the episode with the vulgar gay roommates... I just don't see them befriending our hero at all, but what do I know... and are they too 'typed'? Or is this just a reflection of overall disco
from publisher

Read 3/2/13 - 3/10/13
3.5 stars - Recommended to readers who don't mind a few kitty cat neck sizzles.
87 pages
Publisher: Lazy Fascist Press (print) / Electric Literature (eBook)
Release Date: March 2013

Sam Pink is a little bit like a teenager trapped in a man's body. He's full of piss and vinegar, finds fascination in the silliest and strangest things, and wants everybody and everything to suck his dick.

In Rontel (as with most of Pink's novels), our narrator finds himself immersed in
Sam Moss
Pink has killed it this time. I don't have to (shouldn't have to) tell you that Sam Pink is the verifiable man in every way. Rontel is like all the other Sam Pink books but better, smarter, funnier, more grown up, more juvenile, more emotionally unstable, more thought provoking.

I've read too many reviews already which begin by stating how Rontel is autobiographical or about Pink 's life. Ignore these fools. This is irrelevant. There is no plot. Or maybe there is BUT THE PLOT SIMPLY ISN'T THE PO
The idea of laughing while you read a book by yourself seems like the most bullshit claim in the entire world. I want to kill every reviewer who says that they laughed while reading a book. Except with Rontel, it's legitimately true. You would have to be a fucked up person to not laugh at least once while the protagonist talks about playing video games with his brother, "sizzling" his cat's ears, or ordering deli sandwiches. This book is too good.
Ben Loory
i loved every page and every moment of this book. it's beautiful and frightening and touching and sad and also probably the funniest book i've read since The Fan Man. the fact that junot diaz is famous and this guy is not really just makes me want to blow up the world.

Forever, as a feeling that takes place inside of time.
Peter Landau
Reading RONTEL, the most recent novel by Sam Pink, and the first of his works for me, I'm hopeful. The book is funny. Thoughtful. Funny, again. But what draws me to it is its rejection of good writing. Not that RONTEL is bad writing. It's not. It's different writing. And I'm so tired of "good" writing that has little originality, feels almost locked to a template and is safe, safe, safe. Pink feels sincere, channeling his unique voice without much care for tradition. RONTEL's rambling plot took ...more
"Thoughts about myseelf in front of everything.
Thought about the nearly impossible idea that there was this many things and so many more, then endless things between them where they intersect, and mean something different to everyone.
And how everything referenced me.
Me, the most necessary part of all.
No way to think of anything without the idea of me involved.
The idea of me.
Each thing needed me.
I didn't need them, but they needed me."

Rontel is a (self-?)portrait of a manic-depressive na
Sam Pink has a unique voice and a pretty crushing outlook on life, but beyond the occasional pull-able aphorism and the clever personification of Chicago's slummy sides, this book was difficult for me to get through. I wanted more: more plot, more happenings, more depth of character. If you already like Pink, you'll love this. But if you've never read him, I'd start instead with You Hear Ambulance Sounds and Think They Are for You (Lit Pub Book, 2010 / Lazy Fascist Press, 2011), which I still co ...more
Michael Seidlinger
"And yeah if people had access to my thoughts and feelings, I'd be asked to live on a rock in outer space--one with a long tether to a building in Chicago if any of my friends (just kidding) wanted to come visit."

See you in outer space. Climbing that tether in a spacesuit is going to be a bitch.
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

I picked up this short novel because Sam Pink is part of that whole hipster-lit crowd I've mentioned here before -- a Brooklyn/Chicago circle of friends that includes Tao Lin, Jordan Castro, Heiko Julien and more -- who I'm fascinated by because they are literally the first group of young artists in my lif
Ryan Bradford
Maybe I didn't get Sam Pink before. Maybe I thought Person was too lyrical. Maybe I get twitter now, which is how Pink's writing feels. A really good twitter feed.

Rontel is one of the funniest books I've read in a long time. There were moments that I was laughing out loud and shaking the bed and scared that my wife would wake up and ask me what was funny and I'd have to explain that he's talking about a cat (Rontel) in a suit made out of a duffel bag with bionic arms that keeps malfunctioning a
Daniel Vlasaty
This is Chicago at the beginning of a very hot summer, where it is 90 degrees even at night. And no one has air conditioning. And you just sweat all day and all night, even after and during a shower. It’s Chicago and it is terrible. There are homeless people and hockey video games from 1997. Ride the bus and train around the city. Witness a hostage situation in Uptown. And play with Rontel.

Sam Pink’s books perfectly capture what it is like to live in Chicago. The people you see on the bus and tr
Robb Todd
This book is hilarious and profound. Every few pages I laughed out loud and, about as frequently, was reminded that inside every moment, there are possibilities that have not been considered—and they should be considered. I'll never order a sandwich the same way again.

Who else could make me so thoroughly enjoy a story about walking around a city doing pretty much nothing but thinking about everything he sees, no matter how mundane, and twisting it into a world I never knew existed?
I just finished reading Rontel, and I think it is my favorite book by Sam Pink thus far. I can't say this with 100% accuracy unless I reread all of his other books, but it is 1:20am and I was planning on watching some Garfield and Friends and maybe eating some pizza rolls, so I'll just have to say I am 80% sure that Rontel is my favorite book by Sam Pink. And I am 100% sure that you should read it.
Fucking golden. Everything Pink does is incredibly appealing to me. I bought the Electric Literature 'e-book' version only because it came with an exclusive free valentine's day sext from Sam Pink! Well worth the $$$
xTx xTx
A sentence from this novella sums up my response to it:'s not terrible, I won't be dramatic, but it's something that, if offered, I'd say, "Nah."

Maybe my rating isn't fair. Maybe I'm too old for the latest in post-modern American literary fiction. Maybe, like YA novels aimed at teenaged girls, this sort of story falls within a genre such as "20-something Contemporary American Nihilistic Male Lit" or simply "Nihi-Lit", and I left that demographic behind years ago (though I was once one mysel
Katherine Snedden
"My girlfriend said, 'Oh I forgot to tell you, my sister's pregnant.'
I listened to her talk about her pregnant sister.
But I was thinking about dogs.
I want a German Shepherd--I thought.
And I imagined myself dressed in some type of ceremonial robe, standing with both my arms out, palms upward.
And above one palm floats the fully-enclosed fetus of my girlfriend's sister's future baby, and above the other palm floats the fully-enclosed fetus of my future German Shepherd.
And my face is emotionless.
MSJ (Sarah)
Many moons ago I lived on the far north side of Chicago for over a decade. I’ve pounded the pavements of Uptown, Edgewater, and Andersonville (before it got so trendy). I’ve experienced the oddball characters. I witnessed the illegal activities on the sidewalks. I stepped over the homeless sleeping on Broadway. I suffered through heat waves without air conditioning in my studio apartment. I *know* the world that Sam Pink portrayed in Rontel and he did a pretty good job bringing it to life.
Two good things to say about this book: it's short so you don't have to waste a lot of time reading it; it proves anybody can write a book, although I have to wonder what sleazy favors had to be granted in order to get it published. It is a rambling, nonsensical display of whatever comes into the character's head gets on the page, ala Naked Lunch, only Naked Lunch was a little better. Maybe I just don't get it.
Caleb Wilson
Great sentences, sloppy sometimes and kind of genius. I'm usually not so aware of sentences when I read a book. I guess other books are made of them too, but Sam Pink makes them seem like a new thing that he just invented, and I'm pretty impressed.
Valentine's Day 2013: Sam Pink sexted me 3 times and I feel awkward as hell.
Jes Echo
Awesome, weird read that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Michael Beeman
If familiarity really does breed contempt then it would be hard to imagine a writer more familiar with Chicago than Sam Pink. His latest book, released on Valentine’s Day, is a bipolar love letter to the city that is at turns hilarious and hateful (albeit a love letter that contains the sentences “Fuck Western Avenue and fuck Chicago” and “How do you want me to Fuck you, Chicago”). Pulled by the two opposite poles of antipathy and sentiment, the anonymous narrator of Pink’s Rontel explores Chica ...more
Rachel Smalter Hall
Sam Pink first caught my attention when his publisher launched an unusual promotion for his book Rontel this Valentine’s Day: "Order Sam Pink’s new eBook and he’ll sext you on February 14!" I’m not saying whether Sam Pink sexted me or not, but I will say that I totally loved this book. Its meandering narrative follows a 28-year-old protagonist as he wanders the streets of Chicago desperately trying to hate everything, only to be thwarted by cute things like cats and dancing babies. It’s a tiny l ...more
So I finished reading this book today. Pretty good. Quick, satisfying read. I've read several of Sam Pink's books. Person and Hurt Others are my favorites.
In this book the narrator details his time on unemployment, while living with his brother and their cat, Rontel.
Rontel is a cool lil frick.
There's hardly any filter in Sam Pink's writing, it seems, which makes it devastating and funny at the same time. Just, like, the phrases he chooses to repeat and describe certain things and feelings. He ha
I was in the mood for something short and sharp, and then I saw Ben Loory's enthusiastic review of this. Perfect timing.

And I loved it. There's no plot and maybe the arty-ness of it would have gotten up my nose IF it wasn't so freaking funny. I don't know if I've ever laughed as much over a book. A Confederacy of Dunces, Douglas Adams, David Sedaris, sure - but on a laugh-per-page ratio this has them all beat.

Rontel is also kind of disturbing and a little sad and very highly recommended by me.

Aaron Marks
laughed out loud on almost every single page of this book. felt the main character accurately represented many of my 'inner thoughts / desires' that due to societal norms and stuff, never show up. main character seemed to be what happens when a kid in school gets told they need an attitude adjustment, and then they never adjust their attitude but instead grow up to write books.

one of the top 5 funniest books i've ever read, plus the cover art is fucking sweet. excited to read more sam pink.
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Sam Pink is the author of The No Hellos Diet, Hurt Others, I Am Going to Clone Myself Then Kill the Clone and Eat It, Frowns Need Friends Too, and the cult hit Person. His writing has been published widely in print and on the internet, and also in other languages. He lives in Chicago, where he plays in the band Depressed Woman.
More about Sam Pink...
Person The No Hellos Diet Hurt Others I am Going to Clone Myself Then Kill the Clone and Eat It Witch Piss

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“My brother said something, but I’d been distracted by a nice flower in someone’s back yard.
Wanted to pick it for my girlfriend.
Then I realized she might be sad I killed it.
Seemed like something she’d get sad about.
Maybe not.
I could just say, “Here, I killed this for you.”
As in, “Of course I would kill something for you.”
As in, “Everything is potentially your gift.”
“You still worked, thinking I didn’t.
But I do still work.
I still work and I want you to know that.”
More quotes…