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The Complete Gary Lutz

New York Tyrant

The Complete Gary Lutz


For nearly three decades, Gary Lutz has been writing quietly influential, virtuosic short fictions of antic despair. In barbed sentences of startling originality, Lutz gives voice to outcasts from conventional genders and monogamies—and even from the ruckus of their own bodies. Making their rounds of daily humiliations, Lutz's self-unnerving narrators find themselves helplessly trespassing on their own lives.  

This omnibus volume, with an introduction by Brian Evenson, gathers all five of Lutz's sometimes hard-to-find collections and features sixty pages of previously uncollected stories—including his two longest. 


“Gary Lutz is a master of the art of American English. His stories are disruptive, heartbreaking, peculiar, sharp, and staggeringly beautiful. They are crystalline and dangerous, diamonds that can gouge your eyes out. His work has inspired a movement in literature that is religious in its precision and weirdness; he has solved the literary quandary of illustrating the vulnerabilities of human nature and relational dissonance with true feeling and no sentimentality.  I could read his stories all day and all night. Each story in this collection is a song that ruins me in its oblique precision and resolve. He is an American  treasure. “ --Ottessa Moshfegh, My Year of Rest and Relaxation


“I have been reading Gary Lutz since his first stories appeared in The Quarterly in the mid-‘90s, and have never been let down. This incomparable writer presents stories that are consistently inventive, darkly funny, just plain dark, and truly original.”  -- Amy Hempel, Sing to It


“Hurrah! Here’s to heartscald and heartwreck and all the genius of Gary Lutz to be found in The Complete Gary Lutz.  He electrifies the mundane: he makes wretchedness funny.   These original utterances of loveless love and discontent, absence and defeat, work like bolts to the brain.”  – Christine Schutt, Pure Hollywood


More praise for Gary Lutz:

praise for S
tories in the Worst Way:

“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.”  —
Ben Marcus

“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.”  —
Village Voice

“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.” —
Interview magazine

“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

praise for I Looked Alive:

"What you often hear about Gary Lutz is that he writes astonishing sentences. I think that's true. I also think it undersells the brilliance of what Lutz does. The insanely tight, compressed sentences build into insanely tight, compressed stories that show us what America and contemporary life can feel like, at their darkest core. Gary Lutz is a master—living proof that, even in our cliche-ridden, denial-drenched, hype-driven age, true originality is still an American possiblity." —
George Saunders

"Gary Lutz is a revolutionary force in American writing, reinventing prose fiction with sentences that always deliver on their extravagant promises. His new collection is even stronger and funnier than his first, a feat I'd presumed impossible. Lutz's stories reside at the messy, linty, futile core of everything - and he's there, too, at first a tiny figure, waving demurely, but then the nearer we get to truth, the larger Gary Lutz looms, godsome." —
Sam Lipsyte

“Lutz has been called an experimental writer—but that’s possibly too arid a label for someone whose readers may find themselves taking both prolonged emotional and intellectual journeys. .  . . [M]uch of Lutz’s writing makes use of the Zen habit of forcing paradoxical statements together, to drive the mind towards profound realisations.” —
The Independent

“Twisted aphorisms are strung together in alarming, elliptical monologues of marriage, separation, and loneliness. . . . Searing realism . . . terribly exact . . . a matter for rejoicing.”  -
The Telegraph


“Gary Lutz is the best writer you’ve never heard of.  To certain stylists, he’s a kind of prose god.  Lutz . . . belongs to a category of sentence geniuses that includes Ben Marcus, Aleksandar Hemon, and David Foster Wallace.”  —
The Stranger

praise for Partial List of People to Bleach:

“One of the most distinct story collections in years. . . . [Lutz’s] droll, abstract world is realism for people who love language but celebrate its mutations.”  —
Time Out New York, citing Partial List of People to Bleach as one of the ten best books of 2007  


praise for Divorcer:

“Lutz is a master prose stylist. . . . Lutz succeeds where so many other language-obsessed writers fail, because his narratives rise beyond the lexical tricks of which they’re composed.  Give yourself over to the contorted logic of this book and you come away lugubrious yet exuberant, having lived for a time in a reality at once shattered and inspired. . . . [H]is work gathers a remarkable strength, allowing him to battle convention and win.”  —

“. . . Lutz displays an innate understanding of the grim compromises of modern life but heightens and glorifies these with his dizzying language. He refuses to let the dreary world force him to write a dreary sentence.”   —
Paris Review

“Gary Lutz is one of my very favorite prose stylists, and his new story collection Divorcer . . . might be his best ever.”  —
Dennis Cooper


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