12 Days of Christmas 2018, Reviews

Review: Hark by Sam Lipsyte

Happy January friends! With the new year here, I figured I’d better keep to one of my personal goals for this year which was blog more often. So here’s hoping that I can keep up a consistent schedule.

I’m starting off this year on not an extremely high note. The first book I finished this year was Hark by Sam Lipsyte. I was lucky enough to receive this book from Simon & Schusters Ca as an ARC, and I’m eternally grateful to them as usual for giving me this opportunity to review. However, I have to say that I wasn’t really that impressed with the book. And by that I mean I straight up didn’t like it. I did finish it, unlike a couple other Goodreads reviews that I saw.

In an America convulsed by political upheaval, cultural discord, environmental collapse, and spiritual confusion, many folks are searching for peace, salvation, and—perhaps most immediately—just a little damn focus. Enter Hark Morner, an unwitting guru whose technique of “Mental Archery”—a combination of mindfulness, mythology, fake history, yoga, and, well, archery—is set to captivate the masses and raise him to near-messiah status. It’s a role he never asked for, and one he is woefully underprepared to take on. But his inner-circle of modern pilgrims have other plans, as do some suddenly powerful fringe players, including a renegade Ivy League ethicist, a gentle Swedish kidnapper, a crossbow-hunting veteran of jungle drug wars, a social media tycoon with an empire on the skids, and a mysteriously influential (but undeniably slimy) catfish.

First things first, this book is meant to be a satire. And I dont know if I just missed it and it went over my head, or if it was poorly done satire, but I just could not get into it. The characters were not compelling at all (I would say that the ones I liked most was Teal, who was very minor) and even when I felt something akin to compassion for them it was very quickly squashed. Moreover, the book didn’t seem to have any good plot points.

The synopsis goes on to say that “Hark is a smart, incisive look at men, women, and children seeking meaning and dignity in a chaotic, ridiculous, and often dangerous world”. I did not pick that up at all. The most that I could take from this book was that people are horrible? Even those who seem like they’re good such as Hark are not? I don’t know what the message of this book was, and I’m not interested enough to try to find out.

There was also a lot of infidelity in the book, which I just cannot handle.

Overall, I’d give this book a 1/5 stars. This is a ‘did not like it’ on Goodreads, and that pretty much sums up all of my feelings. It is kind of good to know that I can dislike books though – for a while I was concerned that my ratings were skewed (now I know that I just read a lot of books that I like).

Who knows – maybe you understand satire better than I do. Maybe you’re a more advanced reader. But I could not for the life of me enjoy the book (I finished it tho!).

That’s all for now ducks. I’ll see you again soon with another blog post 🙂
~ Mon

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