Hey, check out the interview I did with hilariously twisted author Sam Lipsyte (The Ask, Home Land) over at The Nervous Breakdown.
Here's how it begins:
In 2004 I sat on someone's couch, listening to a writing group take turns demolishing one of my short stories. The final critique, delivered by a woman in pointy architect's glasses, concluded by saying “It's so Sam Lipsyte.” I had no idea what that meant. A few days later I picked up a copy of Home Land, dreading the worst. Instead, I found it to be hilariously unhinged, a string of baroque epistolary riffs wound around the neck of its reliability-challenged narrator. Exactly the palate cleanser I needed at a time when spending a Tuesday With Morrie seemed desirable to large swaths of the populace. The Architect had done me a real favor.
Six years later, with the release of The Ask, which has been met with the sort of near-universal accolades usually reserved for the discovery of a lost Rolling Stones album, Sam Lipsyte has graduated from regular inclusion on the funniest author you’ve never heard of lists, to the rarefied among our best contemporary writers. A former editor of the early webzine Feed, as well as current Columbia professor and winner of a 2008 Guggenheim fellowship, Lipsyte is on the kind of extended roll only dying crapshooters and remaindered novelists can truly appreciate.
So, you're huge in France, I hear.
Never has a more false sentence been uttered.
Well, maybe it just seems like you should be.
Home Land came out there. I really like my translator. He thinks my books are untranslatable and just enjoys the insanity of it.
The French seem fascinated by our tendency to live a life of constant internal complaint. The sheer luxury of it. Which is something I think your writing definitely gets at.
Well, the French have that luxury too, so I think part of it is laughing at its crass, oafish nephew. But the French also want to distinguish their tradition of complaint from ours. They want theirs to be more elegant, which maybe it is, but they don't quite have the self-deprecation down. Wait, am I generalizing?
Read the rest here.