Lisa Borst

  • DIY PI

    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

  • interviews June 02, 2022

    Stranger Than Paradise

    Nell Zink lives in Brandenburg, Germany, but writes mostly about Americans and their countercultures and excesses. Her novels tend to be funny, immensely contemporary, and a little chaotic—in their careening prose style as well as in their joyfully unwieldy premises. She’s written about a group of anarchist squatters navigating real estate and movement strategy in Jersey City (Nicotine); a white lesbian who, having gone on the lam, successfully passes as Black in the woods of Tidewater, Virginia, where Zink grew up (Mislaid); and, most recently, a Lower East Side post-punk couple whose daughter

  • interviews October 21, 2021

    Geek Love

    Although it sounds like the name of a sequel, LaserWriter II is the debut novel of writer and designer Tamara Shopsin; it takes its name from a laser printer manufactured by Apple in the early 1990s. The mechanics of printing are a formal concern throughout the book, which is divided by surprising page breaks and pixelated illustrations, as well its central plot fixture: Shopsin follows Claire, a young New Yorker with anarchist leanings, through her stint as a printer technician at Tekserve, a computer-repair shop that operated on West 23rd Street until 2016. Between shifts spent laboring over

  • Aghast Interpretation

    “AT THIS POINT, you probably should take several deep breaths in order to relax, there is much more to come, if you’ll pardon the expression,” cautions Wilson Bryan Key, in the first chapter of his 1973 pulp best-seller Subliminal Seduction. The book, which ignited one of the Cold War era’s more banal panics—that the advertising industry is a black site of veiled salacious messages—is best remembered for its analysis of an ad for Gilbey’s gin, which Key claimed contained the letters S-E-X embedded in ice cubes. But Key goes on to argue that television and magazine ads contained stronger stuff