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Home Land: A Novel Paperback – December 9, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 229 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 1St Edition edition (December 9, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312424183
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312424183
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former Feed editor Lipsyte was one of the young writers to come out of Open City's initial rise in the '90s; his collection of short stories was followed by 2001's The Subject Steve, a kind of condensed Infinite Jest. This second novel is written as a series of insanely baroque, inappropriately intimate letters to a high school alumni newsletter, 20 or so years after graduation. The letters' fictional author, Lewis Miner, aka "Teabag," is clearly lucid enough to know that the letters could never be printed, let alone appreciated by what emerge as his philistine fellow graduates, but he persists anyway. That giddy, passing-itself-off-as-ordinary persistence becomes the point of the novel, which presents lives that continue in the face of crushing, banal and heartbreaking failures. Lewis can barely make his rent payments, is employed writing "FakeFacts" for a cola outfit and is recovering from his fiancée's recent departure. He and his clique of Eastern Valley High leftovers cope as best they can, taunting and analyzing one another unceasingly. The novel climaxes, if it can be called that, at a surreal gathering of former classmates dubbed a Togethering. At every turn, Lipsyte plays on the clichés of the stuck-white-aging-male, though he embellishes them with sharp dialogue. That the novel is an unpleasant, static read is a sign of its uncompromising, mise-en-abyme success.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

The hero of this comic novel, Lewis Miner, a.k.a. Teabag, was a high-school stoner, and now makes it his mission to write extremely candid letters to the alumni newsletter. His life, as he writes, "did not pan out." He works as a dishwasher in his father's cheesy catering business and spends his free time moping with his friend Gary, who sued his parents for molestation and then sued the shrink who conjured up these false memories. Teabag's letters detail his sexual fantasies (most of which involve the leg warmers of the school's jazz-dancing squad), his stalled ambition, and the misshapen pearls of wisdom he's garnered from his bottomed-out life. The story ends in an improbable shootout, but Lipsyte transfigures Teabag's self-loathing into a sensibility that is both hilarious and noble.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker

More About the Author

Sam Lipsyte is the author of Venus Drive, a collection of short stories to be published by Flamingo in Dec 2002. His work has appeared in The New York Times and The Quarterly. He was born in 1968 and lives in New York City. This is his first novel.

Customer Reviews

This book is funny, yes: laugh out loud funny.
C. SORRENTINO
This is fine to do half the time, but he did it exclusively, on every single page of the book, and to the point that it became noticable and a tad annoying.
Jeremy Parker
If you can handle getting a little weird, and can handle a weird sense of humor, you may like this book.
Middleman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C. SORRENTINO on January 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
Sam Lipsyte sees things more clearly than most writers, and he doesn't flinch. What is portrayed by even his admirers as over-the-top satire strikes me as a dead-on adumbration of every value Americans hold dear, every piety we utter, every meaningless counter that marks our status. While the marvelous conceit of this book--letters to a alumni newsletter--has been recognized and applauded, what hasn't really been remarked upon is that in firing off his jeremiads, Lewis Miner's is a voice speaking into a void. There is no wise and simple man in his Connemara clothes waiting for Lewis's epistles. This book is funny, yes: laugh out loud funny. But it is also dark, a blending of the intense and somber tones of VENUS DRIVE with the brighter and more detached comedy of THE SUBJECT STEVE. It is also very wise: Lipsyte posits no solution to the waste he portrays, no utopian ideal to which his book serves as an illustration of its dystopic opposite. Yet Lewis Miner leaves us with hope, he threads his way through the sheer, glittering, noisy, cacophanously glorious surface of Lipsyte's book to find his way to a sort of self-knowledge. Buy the book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cecelia on April 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
Reading Home Land is therapeutic. It has an autobiographical feel, as if he's spun the events of his life into fabulously cynical gold. You can just picture Lipsyte enduring a whole lot of hell in his life- but with utmost patience, knowing it was just for the mill that would ultimately produce a work of genius. He's got everyone figured out. The characters and dialogue are indicative of an author with incredible psychological consciousness and emotional intelligence. Picture Arrested Development actually fulfilling its satirical aspirations. That's Lipsyte.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Webber on June 20, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
People will think you're crazy when you start laughing like a maniac. I could relate to many of the situations described here. It reads like some of the better Blogs out there (true diamonds in the rough those are, but they are worth the effort to look for).

I loved this book, truly and honestly. Although my school life was never as bizzare as that of the characters in this future classic, this is definitely the funniest book I've ever read where Home Land was the title.

Okay, it's only the second book I've read with sucha title, the other being Homeland by R.A. Salvatore (Book 1 in The Dark Elf Trilogy) and that one wasn't intended to be funny.

One complaint I do have though. Why no audiobook version? Honestly, if you were to do one and couldn't get the author, Marc Maron or Chasing Amy's Jason Lee would be perfect.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Fiona Levaster on January 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
There may be a novelist out there as funny as Sam Lipsyte, and maybe a few who can produce characters who will break your heart as tenderly, but probably not. There is absolutely no one else who can do both together so beautifully. Lewis Miner's absurdly honest, appalling, wonderful updates to his New Jersey high school alumni bulletin come in the sort of voice writers dream of creating, if they're smart enough to dream dreams like that--a voice unlike any other. The updates, concerning Lewis's thumbless best friend, his lost love who preferred her own brother, and the constant disgrace of being an American who did not, as he says, pan out, are hilarious, but what makes them so extraordinary is Lipsyte's construction of a new sort of language: his sentences rip English apart and put it back together in strange, playful configurations that make it mean more, not less. He's a master of a sort of comedy that keeps you laughing so hard you can't quite figure out when you began crying, but it doesn't matter, because by now you're laughing again.
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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Billy Pilgrim on February 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
I really did. In the (glowing) review I read, it sounded clever and original, and at first, it was, but unfortunately, it quickly ran out of steam. The main character in this book reminded me a lot of Ethan Hawke's character in "Reality Bites", and I didn't like that movie for the same reason I didn't like this book.

As any adolescent knows, it's very easy to criticize society and those who play by it's rules. It's a lot harder to turn that criticism into insight. Pointing out how foolish the "norms" are doesn't, in and of itself, make you better than them or make you more profound. And ultimately, that's what annoyed me the most about this book- it ended up playing out like some kind of adolescent fantasy, like "It's cool to have sex and do drugs and hang out with degenerates and have no responsibility". Unfortunately, that sentiment is neither new nor novel, and the author offers no new insight into either that lifestyle or those who choose to live it.

Still, I'm giving this 3 stars. It reads quickly, and there are enough funny scenes scattered through out that it will at least keep you interested and entertained, if not enlightened.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Peter Dowd on December 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
If you like the music of Steven Seagal as much as I do, then I guarantee you'll love this book. If not, if you don't necessarily like the music of Seagal or you just haven't had the pleasure of his new album "Songs From the Crystal Cave" (available on amazon also, I believe), then I'm still pretty sure you will love this book. Like Seagal steppin' foot on a railroad car ("Under Siege 2"), jetliner ("Executive Decision"), aircraft carrier ("Under Siege"), or stepping out of a nine-year coma ("Hard to Kill"), Lipsyte writes like a man who knows he's about to kick your ass. And trust me, my friends, with "Homeland" Lipsyte breaks your arm in half at the elbow, backwards-style, twisting it ever so, a la you know who. There's only two things stopping you from buying this book: fear and common sense. But you're just crazy enough to do it anyway. Isn't that right, my friend?
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