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4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  696 Ratings  ·  95 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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Feb 16, 2013 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
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
Apr 16, 2014 Zadignose rated it really liked it
Shelves: 21st-century
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
Gregor Xane
Jul 12, 2013 Gregor Xane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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.
Mar 04, 2013 Lori rated it really liked it
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
Peter Landau
Mar 14, 2013 Peter Landau rated it liked it
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
Sam Moss
Feb 12, 2013 Sam Moss rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
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
Daniel Vlasaty
Feb 20, 2013 Daniel Vlasaty rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 04, 2013 Willis rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 15, 2013 Ben Loory rated it it was amazing
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.
Michael Seidlinger
Feb 11, 2013 Michael Seidlinger rated it it was amazing
"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.
xTx xTx
Feb 12, 2013 xTx xTx rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Mar 05, 2013 Seth rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
"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
Apr 17, 2013 J.A. rated it it was ok
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
Feb 26, 2013 Hannah rated it it was amazing
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 $$$
Jason Pettus
Mar 08, 2013 Jason Pettus rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary, hipster
(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
Mar 31, 2013 Larry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Ryan Bradford
Feb 16, 2013 Ryan Bradford rated it really liked it
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
Katherine Snedden
Mar 15, 2013 Katherine Snedden rated it really liked it
"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.
Apr 16, 2013 William rated it did not like it
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.
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?
Feb 12, 2013 Mandy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2013
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.
Mar 04, 2013 Jes rated it really liked it
Awesome, weird read that I thoroughly enjoyed.
bjartur of summerhouses
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.
May 09, 2013 David rated it it was amazing
I'm amazed how entertained Pink can keep me without really having to have anything happen. It reminds me of Beckett in a way, though Pink writes totally differently. I think I still liked "Person" a little more, but I dug this one too quite a bit. Pink really demonstrates that though plot and character change are elements of many novels, they aren't required to have a novel work.
Caleb Wilson
Mar 07, 2013 Caleb Wilson rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 14, 2013 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle, 2013
Valentine's Day 2013: Sam Pink sexted me 3 times and I feel awkward as hell.
Paula Schumm
Mar 15, 2013 Paula Schumm rated it did not like it
Awful. No plot. The rant of a self-absorbed imbecile.
Dan Plonsey
Apr 07, 2017 Dan Plonsey rated it really liked it
87 pages.
Most sentences get their own paragraph.
Many sentences are short.
Or are fragments.
Like texts, or tweets, or poetry.
Thoughts which are incongruous or in contrast to what the narrator is directly experiencing. Our inner and outer worlds are distant, or maybe not, because it's easy to have both at once, and that's what we've got here: happy because of the fit of our pants. Similar to what we have in the recent work of Tao Lin, who wrote a review of this book on Amazon.
But with hot dogs, pi
Printable Tire
I'll be honest, I didn't think I'd like this book. But I did! Some Kotwzwinkle's "Fan Man" quality to it charmed me over. And I'm totally miserable and feel like a ghoul so I read it at the best, most sympathetic time. I'll quote a passage that shows how it can be both funny and annoying, though:
I looked up and saw a sign hanging from the ceiling.
It had two columns, indicating the location of things.
It listed things like "Men" and "Boys" and "Girls
Michael Beeman
May 24, 2013 Michael Beeman rated it really liked it
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
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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.
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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.”
“And I realized that part of my problem was I visibly resembled an adult. But never became one.” 4 likes
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