Steve is a mild 37-year-old who is diagnosed with a new disease, a disease so rare that no-one has ever died of it before. He seems to be dying of boredom. Thus Steve embarks on a project of sexual indulgence, chronic wastefulness, spending sprees and half-hearted familial reconciliation.
A dark, savagely funny and wholly original satire of, er, everything. "The bad news was bad. I was dying. I was dying of something no one had ever died of before. I was dying of something absolutely, fantastically new." Steve, the eponymous antihero of Sam Lipsyte's savagely funny first novel is a mild 37-year-old who is diagnosed with a new disease, a disease so rare that no-one has ever died of it before. It seems that this perfectly ordinary postmodern citizen -- divorced husband, absent father, midlife adman -- is dying of something that might well be boredom. So, as any man whose death is foretold would, he embarks on a project of sexual indulgence, chronic wastefulness, spending sprees (73k dollars in three days) and half-hearted familial reconciliation. ('Don't threaten me.' is his ex-wife's response to the news.) The news of his condition sparks a media frenzy and, desperate for an escape, Steve heads upstate to the Center for Nondenominational Recovery and Redemption, founded and ruled by the shadowy Heinrich. But Steve soon realises that this somewhat disinterested attempt to find salvation, redemption, or just a cure has set him on a bizarre path from which death may be not a bad way out. Sam Lipsyte's razor-sharp satire is utterly merciless, encompassing every aspect of American culture you could care to mention, and a few more things you'd never thought of. Sustaining his black humour over the course of this hugely readable novel, Lipsyte leaves the reader exhausted and in awe at the brilliance of his quick-fire mind.