By Heather Noland, Bluegrass Writers Studio
Bluegrass Writers Studio is lucky enough to host Sam Lipsyte at our 2014 Winter Residency. He is the author of Home Land, the funniest book Director Derek Nikitas has ever read. And it is hilarious in the darkest of ways.
Sam has created a character, Lewis Miner, aka "Teabag," with profound self-awareness but at the same time recklessly low standards. Teabag is just the sort of person who would respond to a call for updates from his old high school's newspaper, dying for an audience to acclaim his messed up existence. That's just what he does in a horrifying confession of how he "didn't pan out."
Teabag is such a scumbag--has no real job, an obscene affinity for legwarmers, and various addictions--but he's rather tuned in compared to the wretched people around him. So much that I catch myself relating, or at least agreeing with him. For me, that's what is most alluring about this novel.
What adds to Teabag's charm is his surprising wit, he's smooth for such a failure. He could be easily dismissed as such, but I'm more prone to identify with him. He has a rebellious flare I can't help but marvel at. The stagnancy of his life is paralleled by his determination to defend it, and that's why I could never write him off.
When I closely examine the recoiling of a character like Teabag, I'm able to become more familiar with my own resilience. I can feel acquainted with a life much different than my own. It's a blessing when a novel such as this lingers in that uncomfortable way.
To linger with Lipsyte, come to his public reading at 5:30 on January 10 in the Triple Crown Room of the Lexington Downtown Hilton. It’s the height of legwarmer season.
Published on December 03, 2013