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The Fun Parts

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  1,445 ratings  ·  204 reviews
A boy eats his way to self-discovery, while another must battle the reality-brandishing monster preying on his fantasy realm. Elsewhere, an aerobics instructor—the daughter of a Holocaust survivor—makes the most shocking leap imaginable to save her soul. These are just a few of the characters you'll encounter in Sam Lipsyte's richly imagined world.
Featuring a grizzled and
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by FSG
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3.53  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,445 ratings  ·  204 reviews

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Feb 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 16, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Oct 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: funny-stuff
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
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lipsyte packs a self-consciously decadent picnic basket to bolster us self-consciously decaying asylum-seekers from the late grate war on litter-a-tour. It's sweet sustenance, but all the same, everybody knows shit fuck, and every smile barely dissembles its bitter grimace. The Fun Parts is not so funny it can't be taken seriously; however, if a joke in the house of the hangman conquers by surprise, a clown on the gallows makes everyone want to die.

Black humor hits close to home, as a coping me
Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
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?
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Dec 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Emily Simpson
Feb 21, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Joseph Michael Owens
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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."
Bibliophile Britt
Had I read this collection of short stories in high school, I would have convinced myself that I liked it. I would have felt like, as an avid reader and 'intellectual person', I was supposed to like it. I would have talked about it with my friends at school, all of us pretending to have gained some sort of Deeper Understanding from its sardonic, abstract perspective. But I am now an adult, and I can confidently say (with only minimal damage to my pride) that I did not quite ~get~ this book.

Josh Friedlander
With respect to the New Critics, Sam Lipsyte is best understood as a product of two formative influences: an Ivy League background (he attended Brown and currently teaches at Columbia) and a major, drug-fueled starving-artist period in the '90s Brooklyn punk scene, as a part of the band Dungbeetle. His stories are full of brilliant one-liners and elegant descriptions, but at the broader level, they fail to cohere, often switching tack abruptly. Is he getting bored by his subject material? Is the ...more
Dec 10, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
questi racconti hanno una copertina magnifica. Peccato che per il resto io li abbia trovati incomprensibili. E' come se, sotto ognuna delle storie strampalate, ci fosse uan sublime e profonda morale che ci permette di capire meglio l'ipocrisia borghese dei nostri tempi.. ma devo essere stupida, e mi sfugge.
Lasciati a metà.
Sep 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Sam Lipsyte is great a post 9/11 Yankee Barry Hannah with an eye for mordern life like Don DeLillo. Very fine stuff here. Top shelf.
Ryan Chapman
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Lipsyte's deservedly celebrated for his humor, and this is one of the funniest books of the last five years. And not "smirk while you think 'funny'" kind of funny, but "surprise laugh that renders one immediately embarrassed" funny.

Less discussed is the high-wire approach to voice. Lipsyte's narrators use language to shield themselves from self-knowledge, often finding refuge in an elevated sarcasm not unlike Matthew Klam's damaged men. The more in denial, the more elevated the language. What's
Matt Holloway
Mar 24, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Jan 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
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.
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lipsyte is a wordsmith of the highest order.
Jenny Shank
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it

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
Bill Breedlove
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
James (JD) Dittes
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014, cool-writings
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
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
I really liked about half of the stories in this book, particularly "The Dungeon Master," "The Wisdom of the Doulas," and "Snacks." Sometimes Lipsyte's weird, knotty phrases were hilarious or insightful or heartbreaking. But sometimes the effort of deciphering his wadded-up word blobs just wore me out (WTF, "The Real-Ass Jumbo"?).

The punch in the gut:

"Really," the Dungeon Master calls again. "No hard feelings."

It must be the dumbest thing he's ever said. No hard feelings? What could ever be ha
Po Po
May 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Eric T. Voigt
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spring-thirteen
I tried to explain how 'The Wisdom of the Doulas' spirals out of control to a co-worker. I couldn't. I kept giggling. When I think back to any line I can think back to I start to smirk like a dumbass. I was telling my parents about 'The Fun Parts' and couldn't come up with very good synonyms for "dark comedy" so I stuck with "it's just crazy." Such a bleak, yet hilarious and batshit nuts world Lipsyte writes. Way great.
David Winters
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
C.A. Huggins
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
I guess I was expecting it to hilarious, but the actual fun parts were few and far between. I did enjoy "Deniers" and "Snacks". It's not that this collection was particularly bad. I was simply underwhelmed.
Zack Quaintance
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In Sam Lipsyte's second collection of stories, the language and ideas are as irrepressibly singular as in his first collection, Venus Drive, but the characters here come into better focus, creating narratives that are at once more accessible and profound.
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Brian Longtin
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tight, wry collection shot through with just the right amount of bitterness and guilt. Like so many great short stories, they console by revealing how none of us are doing quite as well as we'd like.
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"The Republic of Empathy" help 2 6 Oct 08, 2014 09:44PM  
  • Middle Men: Stories
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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.
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“Yes, we could solve for why, but we could also eat another slice of coconut cake.” 2 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?” 2 likes
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