Writing Chair Sam Lipsyte's 'Hark' Out Now
BY Zoe Contros Kearl, January 30, 2019
Hark, out through Simon & Schuster, is set in an America not so unfamiliar. In a nation convulsed by political upheaval, cultural discord, environmental collapse, and spiritual confusion, many are searching for peace, salvation, and perhaps just a little focus. Enter namesake character Hark Morner, an unwitting guru whose invented technique of “Mental Archery”—a combination of mindfulness, mythology, fake history, yoga, and archery—aims to reach the masses and raise him to near-messiah status. It’s a role Hark never asked for, one he is underprepared for. But his inner-circle of acolytes have other plans, as do some supporting characters, including a renegade Ivy League ethicist, a gentle Swedish kidnapper, a crossbow-hunting veteran of jungle drug wars, a social media tycoon with an empire on decline, and a mysteriously influential (but undeniably slimy) catfish. Read an excerpt from Hark here.
Lipsyte recently gave an interview to the Columbia Journal about “The Death of the Author” by Roland Barthes, an essay about severing the link between the text and elements of the author’s identity that may help the idle reader find definite meaning, and his new book.
"Extremely funny... brilliantly alive"— New York Times Book Review
“Lipsyte writes nose to sentence, like a truffle hound. Jokes emerge from shifting letters, the keel of a clause....Lipsyte’s language maintains a flexibility, a resilience, that feels quite necessary in a time of oversimplification and duplicity. The novel’s two themes, faith and fraud, are both rooted in rhetoric, in the massage of the message. Same with 2019. In Hark’s final pages, as the story takes on messianic velocity, Lipsyte turns somber. The laughter stops, and the novel becomes, if not profound, then at least elegiac—which is perhaps satire’s bullseye.”— BOMB Magazine
Lipsyte is also the author of The Fun Parts, The Ask, Home Land, as well as The Subject Steve and Venus Drive. His fiction has appeared in The Quarterly, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Tin House, n+1, Harper's, McSweeney's, and Best American Short Stories among other places. His essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, Esquire, GQ and the Washington Post Book World. He was a 2008 Guggenheim Fellow.