Home Land

Genre: Fiction; Author: Sam Lipsyte; Publisher: Picador USA

In a series of caustic, surreal dispatches to his high school alumni newsletter, misanthropic class of ‘89 grad Lewis Miner gleefully busts apart his former classmates’ egos by tastelessly — and often hilariously — revealing his (and their) dirtiest secrets, saving his most acidic bile for Principal Fontana, his bondage-loving archnemesis. He employs imaginative, disturbing turns of phrase to expose what we underdogs always knew about our more popular teenage peers: They were only famous in their own heads. (Miner fantasizes an ex-jock’s death: ”We could picture the startlement in our eyes, your brain meat chunked…your pecker would be puny with death.”) Full of feverishly violent interludes and coarse sexual humor, Home Land isn’t for the squeamish, and sometimes isn’t even coherent. But by its unexpectedly wistful end, Sam Lipsyte will have you feeling both lousy and moved.

Originally posted December 20 2004 — 12:00 AM EST

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