By Adam Levin. McSweeney's, $22.
In “Frankenwittgenstein,” the first story from Adam Levin’s new collection, Hot Pink, a boy looks in on his madman father and deduces the nature of his reclusive activities from the small details surrounding his haunts. As Dad goes about creating a Cabbage Patch doll that excretes vomit as some kind of anorexia deterrent, the narrator describes his own life as an X-rated cartoon. Once the images of Fritz the Cat dissolve from the reader’s mind, the notion of life as an obscene animation begins to make sense not only for this specific story, but for this grotesque, madcap book as a whole.
The author of gargantuan novel The Instructions has created a slim set of frenetic stories about wanna-be thugs, a girl who may or may not be the victim of a leopard attack, and a boy who deconstructs conversations with lots of self-abuse and Cosby allusions. Levin’s protagonists are like Looney Tunes characters—funny and friendly despite the horrible calamities they’ve endured. Their tales can be both delightfully odd (a boy pulling off his twin’s ear) and lowbrow (a senior citizens’ symposium on cunnilingus). Unfortunately, the end result is something like a facile film montage—it’s quick, often ironic and makes for surprisingly safe storytelling. Unlike Levin’s debut novel, this lightning-fast read does not allow for slow moments of examination. Consequently, Hot Pink’s lack of epiphanies and hard choices may leave some readers wondering what’s happening behind the cartoon backdrop that keeps whizzing by.
Adam Levin reads at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe Thu 5.
Beer Shop NYC
Sorry, wine—beer is coming for your spot as the new drink to obsess over. Dedicated shops are popping up all over the five boroughs, all with plenty of suds from all over the world on tap. Beer Shop NYC, located on the Upper West Side, is one of the best, offering a varied selection and knowledgeable, helpful staff. Ten taps run through a series of curated kegs every season, and beers ($8-$12) range from light, sour gose to dark, stormy stout. On a recent stop, the taps featured breweries like Finback, Nine Pin and Kent Falls, but because the beers change so often, there’s no telling what you’ll find (and what will be your new favorite). If you’re having trouble choosing your next pint, taste four different beers in a flight ($15). You can also take some home in a growler—prices for these large jugs vary by beer, and all growlers are $5 off on Mondays. Beer Shop NYC also stocks a varied selection of canned and bottled beers in refrigerators in the back of the shop. Organized by region, you’ll find brews produced everywhere from San Francisco to Montauk. Bring home an assortment for your next Netflix binge, or, for an added fee, open up one of those cans or bottles right then and there. Hungry? Mixed nuts, beer corn (popcorn coated with a syrup of reduced beer, like a boozy Cracker Jack), rice crackers, “wicked mix” (a spicy Chex Mix-like blend) and hard pretzels are good nibbles, but they don’t make a full meal, so plan accordingly. The long, thin layout of the shop is coz
Venue says: “Purveyors of The Finest Craft Beer on the Upper West Side... Over Three Hundred assortments of Beer to Stay & to Go”