Drug addicted losers disappoint themselves
That summary sounds grim, but the experience of reading the book is more positive. At heart, these stories are a celebration of wordplay and of voice. The drug addicted losers are not in despair over their condition – their physical dependency amuses them (and us too). However, I felt ultimately that none of the stories ever cut close to the bone. I’m not sure if any character really bleeds. They feint at bleeding.
My favorite story was “Ergo, Ice Pick” about half ass revolutionaries, and showcases Lipsyte’s skill at painting entertaining nutcases. I was a little disappointed reading this collection, as I enjoyed The Ask and some of Lipsyte’s later stories. They seem to evoke a deeper more despairing emotion. Prose must kneel to story, I think, if you want to evoke deep feeling.