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De roep van de luiaard

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3.18  ·  Rating details ·  672 ratings  ·  134 reviews
Living on a diet of fried Spam, vodka, sardines, cupcakes, and Southern Comfort, Andrew Whittaker is slowly being sucked into the morass of middle age. A negligent landlord, small-time literary journal editor, and aspiring novelist, he is—quite literally—authoring his own downfall. From his letters, diary entries, and fragments of fiction, to grocery lists and posted signs ...more
Hardcover, 227 pages
Published 2010 by Signatuur (first published 2009)
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Average rating 3.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  672 ratings  ·  134 reviews


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MJ Nicholls
A quite outrageously dreadful literary satire, so cringe-inducingly lame one wonders whether the noble Coffee House Press has any credentials at all, outside publishing the mighty Sorrentino. Sam Savage has read and met Sorrentino, which makes this novel doubly painful since what transpires is a sanitised, whimsified Mulligan Stew, centred around small lit-mag publisher Andrew Whittaker whose failing mag Soap, along with other sub-comedic sitcommy disasters, precipitates a book-long nervous breakdown. The ...more
Lindsey
There are two types of people who will really enjoy Sam Savage's "Cry of The Sloth". The first - those with literary aspirations struggling to balance 'real life' and writing - is a given, as it mirrors the plight of the novel's hero. The second type is the type that enjoys wanting to laugh and sob helplessly at the same time.

The novel is a "collection" of the "writings" of Andrew Whittaker, a sad, lonely man hung up on events of the past. We observe his one-sided conversations in le
...more
Ana
i was torn between 3 and 4 stars. in the end it came down to three.. but it's more of a 3.5 ... it's in these times that i wish GR had another? more detailed rating system.

serious review to come.

three days later

while here for writing a review, I'm still unsure about the rating. three or four? 3.5? what should it be? i guess we'll just have to go on without ever knowing this detail, as i'll leave the official rating a 3 stars and let you know that it might be a four. i'm so shady...

wri/>three
...more
Maya Panika
Oct 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This intriguing novel begins life as a comedy – a laugh-out-loud look at the fast-failing life of wannabe culture czar, Andrew Whittaker who runs ‘Soap’ a literary magazine from his home in a small town that he knows does not appreciate him.

Andrew’s slide into breakdown and madness is mostly told through letters, to a teenage would-be poet, to his disagreeable sister, to his ex-wife, recalcitrant tenants (I do not understand what you intend when you assert if I insist on the back rent you will
...more
Dolors
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
Four months of letters are more than enough to picture Andrew Whittaker's life in amazingly accurate detail , what it was, what it is and what it'll be when the last letter is sent.
As the editor of a little literary magazine which is about to disappear, he starts writing depressive letters to all his acquaintances and his family but in such a witty way that I found myself smiling in spite of the sad situation. Left by his wife, broken, and with no self esteem left, Andys world starts to crumble
...more
Angela
Nov 06, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Angela by: Powell's Indiespensable
Shelves: indiespensable
Andy Whittaker is a character straight out of a Todd Solondz movie, and at the same time the book made me realize why Todd Solondz makes movies instead of epistolary novels. Whittaker is basically failing at life, writing letters attempting to reconnect with his uninterested ex-wife, creepily attempting to hook up with the teenage girl submitting poetry to his literary magazine, composing long dispatches to his bill collectors explaining how much he values their services and wishes he could pay ...more
Michelle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Grace
Jan 24, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2010
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jason Pettus
Sep 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com:]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

They say that in the arts, the projects we're most passionately drawn to are the ones that most accurately reflect our own true inner selves; so I'm not sure what exactly it says that one of my favorite types of novels are what I call "anti-villain" stories, in which our main character starts
...more
Kristi Lamont
I very rarely say anything like this, but in this case it seems warranted: I have to wonder if I would have enjoyed this book more if I were a straight white middle-aged man. Who had completed an MFA but not a novel. While watching his seemingly less-talented peers achieve both literary and popular success. Definitely some witty bits, and the story was engaging enough on some level to keep me reading all the way to the end, but overall this book seemed forced/too clever by half. Well, that's wha ...more
Linda
Jul 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was informed that the narrator (and chief letter writer) Andy Whittaker was a character similar to Ignatius P. Reilly in The Confederacy of Dunces, so I read this book. Let's just say that Ignatius is much more endearing and literary, and leave it at that. Told entirely through letters, many of which it seems never get sent, this is the unraveling of a middle aged professor and landlord. There are some truly funny moments, but mostly I was saddened by this tale of descent into madness.
Jacobmartin
I finished this last night - and I have to say I liked this for the same reasons I liked Welcome to the NHK by Tatsuhiko Takimoto. And by that I mean anything that says "funny but touching" on the back cover is without fail going to turn out to be a somewhat bleak black comedy like NHK was - no matter how funny the back of the book's blurb says.

So basically what I'm warning you about is not that this book is bad, it's just that the marketing for this character study of a novel is mis
...more
Sam
Apr 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a strange little novel. I liked it very much (I think). Andy is so cynical and bitter and self pitying and pathetic. Parts of it are bitterly funny. It isn't the sort of book you read and finish with a good feeling. It is about writing I guess. And a horribly damaged and disappointed persons struggles and loneliness. I'm not sure about the ending though.

I do empathize with Andy as a character in some ways. I feel like we might have been friends if he was a real person. The novel
...more
Tiffany
Jun 05, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about nothing. Really. It's a collection of documents written by the main character (journal entries, letters to friends, letters to tenants, grocery lists, etc.) that is meant to reveal the man's state of mind as he slowly admits that he is a failure professionally and personally.

The book is not "funny" or "touching" or "dark" or "outrageous." It's not "inspirational" or "a tale about rallying in the face of adversity" or "a peek" into anything. It's nothing. It's just a book abou
...more
Ula
Dec 01, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written only from the POV of the main character through letters he writes to people, I thought it would be hard to follow but it was a really quick and interesting read. Andy Whittaker is a self-centered, selfish, delusional, sexist, racist and totally unlikeable character yet Sam Savage manages to pull just a few tiny bits of sympathy for him here and there in the letters. Very well written and a good book I got from Powell's Indiespensable subscription. (woo woo go Powell's!)
Alex Kudera
Dec 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has some great, funny parts as well as a few sections where I lost interest. But I blame my own malaise for this, not the text!
Josh Whittington
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Cry of the Sloth is one of the most uniquely structured books I've read. It's told through the writings of infamous author Andrew Whittaker; his letters, novel extracts and ad listings that are written over the course of four months. During this time we see Andrew's gradual decline in physical and mental health, as he tries to deal with editing a failing literary magazine and managing rental properties that are bleeding money. Andrew writes to his friends and enemies, though there's a very t ...more
Lilian
Protagonist is a hard-to-like loser who tries his best to keep his life and his literary magazine afloat, but events lead to an imminent breakdown.

I admire that the character still manages to be able to be verbose despite all that is happening to him, but he is a writer after all. This story reminds me of another "loser" novel Chump Change, and it also feels a bit like The Catcher in the Rye, then again, I guess any loser story has an element of J.D. Salinger's classic for me.

The choice of tit
...more
Kristina Harper
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-fiction
This is a chronicle, in the form of all the writings of the protagonist during a four-month period, of one man’s mental deterioration in the face of the failures of his marriage, his rental business, and his literary publication. Despite the subject matter, the book is funny and the format interesting—definitely worth the read.
Amanda Roelant
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: perspectives
"You see, there is nothing for me to do anymore. I am embarking because I am bored, because I am frightened, because I am sad."
I fancy myself a Fern Moss, but more realistically I can see myself look in the mirror to see Walter Fudge. A descent into the suffocating void of internal darkness, narrated to me more than once so I found his words familiar like an old friend. Bittersweet.
Clare Walker
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as good as Firmin (nothing is as good as dear Firmin), but still very touching. I love this writer.
Lori
downloaded audio by Iambik for review


Listened 2/24/12 - 3/5/12
3 Stars - Recommended to readers who prefer books with a protagonist that will make them feel like less of a failure.
Audio Download (approx 6 hrs)
Publisher: Iambik / Coffee House Press
Narrator: Charles Bice

We know it's hard to be honest with yourself. Especially when you're a middle aged man desperately trying to keep your small literary magazine afloat while adamantly ignoring the
...more
Susie
I gave this book a 4.5/5 on InsatiableBooksluts.com. My co-reviewer, Rob, gave the book a 3/5.

We often do discussion-style reviews at our site. Here's an excerpt:

"Susie: well… (grins) I could tell exactly why you didn’t like it, but I thought I’d let you put it in your own words.
Rob: I didn’t marginalia it much. I wonder why? Probably it was just too boring and irritating to bother.
Rob: Oh, I know exactly why I didn’t like it.
Rob: Andrew Whittaker sounds like Holden Caulfield–a
...more
Robbins Library
Funny, absurd, clever, and a little sad. Told through Andrew Whittaker's complete writings (including a partial novel, correspondence and signs in his rental property), we see the failed writer/literary magazine editor/landlord completely fall apart. Wonderful fun! Sam Savage is brilliant.

Some of my favorite quotes:

"One thinks, after finishing one interminable sentence, with no verb or subject in the offing, and having finally reached the relative safety of a full stop, that one wil
...more
Brian
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I've been wondering when (or if) the wonderful Indiespensable program at Powell's Books would send out a clunker, a book in which I found nothing worthy. Here it is. I usually need to sit with a book a few days after finishing it to really know what I think of it, but my first impressions are best summarized in the book itself, p. 186:
"And it conveys such an extreme of pathos and grief that the native people will cover their ears and flee rather than listen to it for a second, even if this means/>
"And
...more
Linda
Mar 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-fiction
My review is here.

"One thinks, after finishing one interminable sentence, with no verb or subject in the offing, and having finally reached the relative safety of a full stop, that one will just not have enough strength for the next sentence, not enough *willpower* to haul a clogged boot out of the sticky mess and heave it forward into yet more mess, until finally one *really can't* and doesn't, at which point one lets the whole thing slide off one's lap onto the floor." p.29

"I t
...more
bookczuk
Meet Andy Whittaker, a failure. He has basically failed at getting his own writings published, failed as an editor of a small literary magazine, failed as a landlord of some really crappy apartments, failed as a husband, and even failed as a son (there are no family pictures of him from most of his childhood because he was so disappointing.). The story is told from 4 months Andy's writings: frustrated letters to his ex-wife, bitter and cynical notes to his tenants, garbage men, phone company, pl ...more
Vincent
I actually can't claim to have read this inasmuch as I didn't finish it. I got up to page 130 and decided that I wasn't going to suffer the voice of Andrew Whittaker any longer. Savage is a gifted writer and has created an all too real character. The trouble is, I know too many pretentious blowhards like Whittaker, jerks totally convinced of their own importance, slackers who cry that the world has not recognized them when they are, indeed, among the laziest creatures god has, in his infinite st ...more
Ryan
Sep 06, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I tried with this book. I really, really tried. I made it until about halfway before I finally had to give up though. I'd had enough of Andy Whitaker's letters to assorted people where really nothing happens.

You see, that is the whole premise of this book, it is everything that the narrator, Andrew Whitaker writes down. Yes, it is as gimmicky as it sounds, but I thought the idea had potential. Unfortunately Andrew Whitaker is the sad-sack of all sad-sacks. His is a literary failure w
...more
Rob
Dec 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The central figure of this novel is a familiar one from fiction down the years and Andrew Whittaker's closest cousin has to be Ignatius J. Reilly, the memorable antihero of John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces .

But instead of running riot through New Orleans and providing a plethora of comic moments, Whittaker hardly leaves his midwest bolthole - instead penning letter after letter - each more deluded than the last - to literary agents, friends who went on to better things,
...more
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Sam Savage was an American novelist and poet. He was a native of South Carolina living in Madison, Wisconsin. He received his bachelor and doctoral degree from Yale University where he taught briefly, and also worked as a bicycle mechanic, carpenter, commercial fisherman, and letterpress printer.
“I think those people are fantastically lucky who live in houses where they can call out and expect someone to answer.” 0 likes
“He shook his head violently from side to side in an attempt to drag his mind from this morass, and to imagine another, better, life, one without so many commas.” 0 likes
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