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Misery loves company: Sam Lipsyte's LipSite

March 3, 2010 |  8:10 am

Samlipsyte_fsgSam Lipsyte's bitter comedy has got people comparing him to Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller. His new book, "The Ask," is out now from Farrar, Straus & Giroux. It features Milo Burke, a fundraiser  for the arts program of a third-rate New York university. Our reviewer Akiva Gottlieb explains the setup:

Like the vulgar, irremediable Lewis "Teabag" Miner of Lipsyte's last novel "Home Land" -- perhaps one of the funniest books of the last decade -- Milo clings to the end of his rope, hemmed in by his neuroses, sexual hang-ups and crushing evidence of his own worthlessness. Unlike Teabag, Milo lacks the energy to put up a fight. And crucial to his desperate state of affairs, he's also married with a 3-year-old son. So when Purdy Stuart -- one of "the undercover aristocrats mingling with the peasantry" back in college, now sitting atop an inherited throne raised above the embers of late capitalism -- unexpectedly comes calling, Milo is ready to submit to whatever the man with the cash has in mind.

To help whip people into a Lipsyte frenzy, the publisher is giving away autographed copies of three of his books, including "The Ask," on the Web on the aptly named Sam Lipsyte LipSite.

To enter, all you have to do is sign up for a weekly e-mail, which will deliver snippets of Lipsyte's witty writing to your e-mail box. Expect them to arrive on Wednesdays, the most miserable day of the workweek.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Sam Lipsyte. Credit: Robert Reynolds / Farrar, Straus & Giroux