Stories in the Worst Way
get from SPD
Gary Lutz is a sentence writer from another planet, deploying language with unmatched invention. He is not just an original literary artist, but maybe the only one to so strenuously reject the training wheels limiting American narrative practice. What results are stories nearly too good to read: crushingly sad, odd, and awe-inspiring.
Gary Lutz is, simply, one of my favorite writers. I wish I could see through skin the way he can. He tells hard truths in thrilling ways; his startling sentences are often darkly funny, and always exactly right.
Gary Lutz is one of the rarest and purest of our treasured literary artists. His authentic language conquers any habit of speech. Let the reader prepare for the first known examples of the most crucial and intimate matters of the heart and mind.
What can I say? This is the book. These are the stories, the sentences. Get ready for awe, for envy, for love. Gary Lutz is as funny and original a writer as we have in the language. Consider this, as Lutz would say, a “household fact.”
—Sam Lipsyte, author of The Subject Steve
And to those already familiar, may this modest marker of a major milestone renew that thrill and awe you felt on first encounter. Stories in the Worst Way is as richly estranging and rewarding as it was 20 years ago, and if we are better equipped to appreciate it now than we were back then, I suspect it is because Lutz has taught us, with patient faith and unswerving conviction, how to read him. He has made his ferocious fluencies our own.
—Justin Taylor, in Electric Literature
Mordant debut collection of terse stories (some only a few paragraphs long), featuring a playful use of language in the service of a grim vision of contemporary life. Lutz's protagonists are, typically, obsessive catalogers of life's minutiae, going through the motions at vaguely delineated jobs, baffled by life, between relationships and wondering, as one puts it, "at what point people become environments for one another to enter.'
The Lutz narrator sticks its slippery-gendered fingers into the sorest spots on its psyche. Stories in the Worst Way is lugubrious mischief, archaeology into inconsolable though jauntily endurable melancholy.
Lutz is the new sad man of contemporary fiction. His first collection turns the official notion of gender inside out, supplying a new kind of creature—call it a Lutz—which is neither man nor woman.
The book has already become a true cult item, and no wonder: It comes charged with humor, humiliation, odd sexual currents, koanlike thought patterns and an artfully gnarled syntax.
— Time Out New York