Lisa Borst at Bookforum:
ONE OF SAM LIPSYTE’S SIGNATURE ACCOMPLISHMENTS has been to find the baroque musicality in the emergent vocabularies—commercial, bureaucratic, wellness-industrial, pornographic—opened up by twenty-first-century English. “Hark would shepherd the sermon weirdward,” he writes in his 2019 novel about an entrepreneurial inspirational speaker, “the measured language fracturing, his docile flock of reasonable tips for better corporate living driven off the best practices cliff, the crowd in horrified witness.” Across his first six books, Lipsyte’s sentences have been excessive, pun-laden, and lyrically raunchy. When language threatens to sound measured, a character with a zany name can be counted on to fracture it.
Lipsyte’s latest novel, the East Village–set No One Left to Come Looking for You, is by contrast remarkably stripped down. Its moments of linguistic flamboyance are outnumbered by an almost screenwriterly tendency toward dialogue, and its characters talk in a clipped, plainspoken style that verges on hard-boiled. An exchange on page 1: “He left with it?” “Yeah.” “Fuck.”