The paperback original of Venus Drive was published by Open City Books in May 2000. It is now published by Picador.
From the peep palaces of Times Square to the cubicles of corporate America, Sam Lipsyte’s stories comprise a chorus of gallows humor and good will gone bad. There’s Gary, failed punk icon turned petty drug dealer and amateur self-actualization guru, and the Chersky girl, who makes a strange midnight discovery roller-skating through a morgue. Pot-dazed Trotskyites, summer-camp sadists, and morally-ambiguous babysitters also make themselves known in the lost, shattered landscapes of Venus Drive. In these visceral, sharp-witted tales, Lipsyte serves up a modern buffet of hope, lust, and loss.
Praise for Venus Drive:
"Not for the faint of heart (or soul), Venus Drive explores the complexity of despair with poignancy and sly wit."
— Christine Muhlke, New York Times Book Review
"Sam Lipsyte’s sentences burn with the reckless and gaudy flame of homemade pyrotechnics, arcing up and up beyond the backyards, carports, tract homes, ailing parents, and disenchanted children of boilerplate suburbia to the far horizon of the literary landscape . . . Redemption takes only one form—language—and in that, Lipsyte summons grace and beauty from the strangest places in the human subdivision."
— Ben Anastas, Bomb magazine (Editor’s Choice, Summer 2000)
"Lipsyte captures flashes of his characters' addled humanity and smashes a window into their hopelessness . . . It's fascinating to read a writer who can bring you so efficiently to such uncomfortable places."
— James Hannaham, The Village Voice (also rated one of the Voice's top twenty-five books of the year, 2000)
"Lipsyte’s verbiage packs a punch, and his syntax is as tight as Madonna’s corset."
— Max Buda, Flaunt magazine (May 2000)
"Sam Lipsyte is a wickedly gifted writer. Venus Drive is filled with grimly satisfying fractured insights and hardcore humor. But it also displays some inspired sympathy for the daze and confusion of its characters. Above all it's wonderfully written and compulsively readable with brilliant and funny dialog, a collection that represents the emergence of a very strong talent."
— Robert Stone
"Sam Lipsyte can get blood out of a stone—rich, red human blood from the stony sterility of contemporary life. His writing is gripping—at least I gripped this book so hard my knuckles turned white."
— Edmund White
"These are torqued-up, enthusiastically black-hearted stories by a grimly cheerful author. And the damned things are queerly rather loving and lovely as well. Bukowski meets Paley."
— Padgett Powell
"I like it when short stories—metaphorically speaking, of course—smack me in the face, kind of like what Kafka said about art being like an axe. And so that’s what Sam Lipsyte’s stories do—they come at you like a fist, they knock you around, they make you wince, they make you look away, and then they make you look back."
— Jonathan Ames
"The new world as viewed by the newest."
— James Purdy
"It’s a dark thrill to tap into the sensibility of Sam Lipsyte’s remarkable stories. Not only does he write with comic-tragic brilliance, he knows something terribly important about the zeitgeist. Venus Drive is a dazzling debut."
— Robert Olen Butler
"You know what I did when I was your age? I kept trying to be the first person on my block to be able to say I had just read so-and-so. Can you believe it? All I wanted was to hurry up and spot an emerging writer, somebody nobody else sounded anything like. Pretty nutty, you bet, but it turned out to make a life for me, which is a lot more than I can say for some of the other stunts I was pulling when I was your age. Wise up. Try out Lipsyte. Walk around with his stories. See if they look good on you. Drop the name. Say Lipsyte. The gang of them, they’ll stare and say who, who? Which is where you’ll already be so far ahead of the game, it won’t even be funny, will it? Now tell me who ever gave you better advice. And what’s it going to cost you? Please. I’m handing you a way of being, or at least a way of seeming to be, for the price of one stinking lousy one-of-a-kind book."
— Gordon Lish
"Sam Lipsyte’s stories are short and not so sweet: more like a dash of salt water in the face of life this minute, as if to say ‘Wake up, friend, let’s get crazy!’ And the getting is excellent."
— Barry Yourgrau
"These are terrible people doing terrible things! There must be something redeeming about them, right? What I know is that Sam Lipsyte can write: he juices the American language into some lyrical, terrifying pulp. Drink it up if you dare. His stuff is so scary, it’s good."
— Will Blythe
"These sharply written short stories crackle with crafty, streetwise dialogue. Their first-person narratives place engaging, unstable people into seedy yet believable situations in a way that might remind the reader of Denis Johnson, Robert Stone, or Lynne Tillman."
— Mike McGonigal, Amazon.com
The paperback original was published by Open City Books in May 2000. Venus Drive is now published by Picador.