Monday, March 28, 2011

Sam Lipsyte

Sam Lipsyte is the author of the story collection Venus Drive (named one of the top twenty-five books of its year by the Voice Literary Supplement), and the novels The Subject Steve and Home Land, which was a New York Times Notable Book and received the first annual Believer Book Award.

From his Q & A with Steven Kurutz at the Wall Street Journal about Lipsyte's latest novel The Ask:

The Wall Street Journal: Do you think “The Ask” has been your best novel?

I have to believe that.

True. You’re promoting the paperback edition.

It’s not only that. You have to feel that the last thing you did was the best thing or you worry that you’re not making any progress. I’m not trying to put down the other two novels. I’m proud of everything. But I felt by dint of having written those books one hopes you become better. A little bit better.

The novel also earned you your widest readership and sales so far.

I think I sold enough copies to convince my publisher to let me publish another book. That’s really the only thing you’re going for. I loved the idea that lots of people were reading the book. It had that one freakish moment at #32 on the Times bestseller list, so they can slap bestselling book on the cover. It hasn’t changed my financial situation, but I wasn’t expecting it to. I was hoping to write a book that was slightly better than my earlier books and brought people pleasure.

You seem to write about loser-ish characters. How do you make them engaging to readers?

I guess by...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue