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Hot Pink Hardcover – March 6, 2012
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Adam Levin’s new story collection, 'Hot Pink,' is about how lovefamily love, romantic love, love between friendsturns us into people we never thought we’d become. Today you’re one person, tomorrowenter love, and all bets are off. You could turn out to be anybody... Levin is especially adept at capturing the way we sometimes change against our will... In addition to love and lust, there’s plenty of havoc in these stories... there’s an exuberance here that is absent from safer and too often soulless collections... Life in 'Hot Pink' is raw, messy, yet replete with moments of awkward grace.”
The New York Times Book Review
"Readers put off by the enormity of Levin's debut novel, The Instructions (which clocks in at over 1,000 pages), can rest easythis hilarious, tenderly wrought story collection dazzles without the commitment. In the hands of a lesser writer, Levin's vaudevillian cast of characters--like the legless lesbian prodigy of "Considering the Bittersweet End of Susan Falls" or the titular young woman of 'Jane Tell' who enjoys being punched by strangers--may have come across as pat and sensationalistic. But Levin is interested in how language shapes and limits reality, and he deftly uses his ear for voice to elaborate on these ideas. He also possesses a logician's dexterity when it comes to plotting, nimbly anchoring his linguistic concerns to surprising story arcs. In 'Scientific American,' a financial trader grows increasingly obsessed with determining the reason behind his bedroom wall oozing gel, and in the title story, a self-described Ukrainian "meathead" sees subtext in everything, but laments his inability to gauge words correctly when it matters: 'Like hot pink? For years I thought it was regular pink that looked sexy on whoever was wearing it.' Despite the encumbering instruction-manual frame of 'How to Play The Guy,' Levin's newest cements his position as a writer with the daring and talent to push the boundaries of short fiction."
"Hot Pink leaves readers wondering what might be lurking nearby, on the verge of uprooting their own lives."
"Each story in this anticipated follow-up to Levin's megalithic debut The Instructions, has its own cracks-fissures in otherwise recognizable realities that expose the hidden aspects of everyday experience."
"From walls that ooze unnameable, unidentifiable gel, through makers of children's dolls designed to mimic the stages of digestive health, to old widowers in retirement looking back over their marriages, Levin manages to find the pathos and humor in living an 'ordinary' existence. Enter his world if you dare!"
The Jewish Times
"Levin has a gift for voice, for creating enticing narrators. Whether it's the elderly, dirty-minded Jewish men of 'The Extra Mile' or the adolescent Italian-American toughs of 'Finch' and the white working-class boys of 'Hot Pink,' these are stories that grab the ear first.”
The LA Times
Extraordinary and bizarre.”
Levin's writing isn't just clever but smart it isn't just strange but insightful.”
The Chicago Reader
Each story is so singular and entirely different that it becomes a joy delving into each strange new world.”
Levin is a genius wordsmith, constructing unorthodox, language-bending paragraphs steeped in a biting facetiousness.”
Hey, Small Press!
[Levin] writes tough, funny characters who have honest voices and who see beautiful, awful things happen. He’s also good at writing stories that make you lose track of whether they’re deeply sad or very funny.”
On The Media Blog
Levin is a writer poised to join the ranks of the best young short-story crafters”
The Daily Beast
Hot Pink is gritty. It’s sharp and it’s flashyand most importantly, it packs one helluva literary punch.”
Levin goes places where most of us wouldn't dare let our mind wander.”
Jewish Book Council
Impossible to put down.”
Beautiful writing that is simultaneously fast, gritty, and brutal.”
"In Levin’s hands, fiction explodes again and again into something endlessly enchanting and delightfully unexpected."
San Francisco Magazine
"[Adam Levin] can enter the mind of a character and write exactly what they are thinking."
Portland Book Review
"Levin’s got game."
Chico News & Review
Hot Pink really shines, showcasing the work of an author who understands the heartbreaking potential of our desire to be liked.”
Levin experiments with form, digresses within his digressions, mixes registers beautifully, and never lets realism get in the way of a good time.”
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Top Customer Reviews
"Hot Pink" allays my fears, if nothing more. But there's a whole lot more. The crystalline acidity of "Frankenwittgenstein" outsparkles David Sedaris; the teenage tragedy of "Considering the Bittersweet End of Susanne Falls" plays out like the saddest, funniest work of Levin's fellow Chicagoan John Hughes. The rest, if a bit uneven, is more uniquely Levin, delightful even when just clearing his throat ("The Extra Mile," the title story), demonic when eating his own bitter heart ("Jane Tell"), profound when mourning moral choices ("Finch"), playfully deicidal when dishing up religious parables ("Scientific American"), and perfectly straightfaced when telling a very good joke ("RSVP.")
Best of all, these stories are not what I feared they would be, outtakes from "The Instructions." Most of these characters live in Chicago; some may even have gone to Ben Gurion's school; but even if they did, they never met him. They suffer their own predicaments, speak with their own voices, teach their own lessons (I recognized myself more than once.) Levin has published a second book as different from his first as the New Testament is from the Old, and the good news is there will be a third.
Actually, I should recognize that not 'everyone' likes grit. So if you need blue skies and sun throughout your stories, Levin is not for you. But maybe just give it a try. Like jumping into freezing cold waters, it's a little painful, shocking, and refreshing all at the same time. I promise you'll be enriched a least a little bit after finishing the stories.
Unfortunately many of the stories seem to go on far too long. Although Levin creates worlds that are fun to live in, the reader feels ready to move on halfway through the story. With so many unique ideas, there is a large potential for greatness. But Levin's execution of the ideas falls short. There are many fantastic short story authors to choose from - Neil Gaiman, Etgar Keret, and Stephen King spring to mind. Adam Levin has a way to go before reaching the pantheon of the greats, but Hot Pink shows he is close to achieving greatness.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The best story in this book "Scientific American," can be found elsewhere, so you don't need the book for that. Read morePublished on November 20, 2012 by Ruvym Gilman
Ok, first read "The Instructions" by Adam Levin and couldn't believe what a great first book it was. A very long (1000 + pages) but absolutely worth the time invested. Read morePublished on October 29, 2012 by Darryl Saunders
Irreverent collection of first-person narrative short stories that explore youth and relationships while the writing finds delight in individual words and phrases. Read morePublished on June 22, 2012 by A. Bishop
If you don't love "How to Play the Guy," then you have no taste. That is all I have to say.Published on May 2, 2012 by Michael T.