Tuesday, January 28, 2020



A provocative, globe-trotting, time-shifting novel about the seductions of—and resistance to—toxic masculinity.

"Frank knew as well as anyone how stories start and how they end. This fiery mess, or something like it, was bound to happen. He had been expecting it for years."

Frank Baltimore is a bit of a loser, struggling by as a carpenter and handyman in rural New England when he gets his big break, building a mansion in the executive suburbs of Hartford. One of his workers is a charismatic eighteen-year-old kid from Liverpool, Dmitry, in the US in the summer before university. Dmitry is a charming sociopath, who develops a fascination with his autodidactic philosopher boss, perhaps thinking that, if he could figure out what made Frank tick, he could be less of a pig. Dmitry heads to Asia and makes a neo-imperialist fortune, with a trail of corpses in his wake. When Dmitry's office building in Taipei explodes in an enormous fireball, Frank heads to Asia, falls in love with Dmitry's wife, and things go from bad to worse.

Combining the best elements of literary thriller, noir and political satire, Born Slippy is a darkly comic and honest meditation on modern life under global capitalism.

Book Details:

Title: Born Slippy: A Novel

Author: Tom Lutz

Genre: noir, thriller

Publisher: Repeater/Penguin Random House (January 14, 2020)

Print length: 296 pages


A few of your favorite things: my thousands of books.
Things you need to throw out: hundreds of books.

Things you need in order to write: my laptop.
Things that hamper your writing: my job (teaching at the University of California, Riverside), my avocation (running Los Angeles Review of Books, and my bad habits (binge-watching global TV on Netflix).

Things you love about writing: doing it, being in the flow.
Things you hate about writing: not much, really.

Easiest thing about being a writer: doing it.

Hardest thing about being a writer: doing it.

Things you love about where you live: my neighborhood in Los Angeles has the upside of urban life combined with the best of suburban life.
Things that make you want to move: I don’t want to move, I just want to travel.

Things you never want to run out of: time, money, and love.
Things you wish you’d never bought: a video camera.

Favorite foods: paella, duck, porcetta, handmade pasta.
Things that make you want to throw up:  ketchup on eggs; chicken feet; Southern Comfort (had a run-in with it as a teen . . . )

Favorite music or song: funk.
Music that make your ears bleed: noise metal.

Something you’re really good at: diving in.

Something you’re really bad at: patience.

Something you wish you could do: play the saxophone.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: feel resentment.

People you consider as heroes: empaths.

People with a big L on their foreheads: narcissists.

Things you’d walk a mile for: my children.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: people talking about their children.

Things to say to an author: “I love your books!”
Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: “I didn’t care for this new one . . .”

Favorite places you’ve been: all but a handful of the 140 countries I’ve visited.

Places you never want to go to again: Djibouti, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Moldova.

People you’d like to invite to dinner: the Obamas.

People you’d cancel dinner on: the Trumps (just kidding, I couldn’t pass up that opportunity).

Favorite things to do: travel, work, love.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: clothes shopping.

Things that make you happy: intimacy, gastronomy, art.

Things that drive you crazy: self-promotion.

Most embarrassing moment: there are way too many to choose from.

Proudest moment: seeing my children happily in love.

Best thing you’ve ever done: getting married.

Biggest mistake: getting married (the other time).

The last thing you did for the first time: skydiving.

Something you’ll never do again: skydiving.


Tom Lutz is an award-winning author of books, articles, reviews, screenplays, and radio programs. After a decade as a musician, cook, and carpenter, he started going to school and never left. After a PhD at Stanford University, he taught at University of Iowa, University of Copenhagen, and CalArts before joining the faculty at UC Riverside in 2006, where he is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing.

Lutz is the author of Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers and Bums (Farrar Strauss Giroux; American Book Award, NY Times and LA Times Bestseller), Cosmopolitan Vistas (Cornell University Press; Choice Outstanding Academic Book), Crying: The Natural and Cultural History of Tears  (Norton; NY Times Bestseller and NY Times Notable Book), American Nervousness, 1903: An Anecdotal History (Cornell University Press; NY Times Notable Book), two books of travel narrative:  And the Monkey Learned Nothing: Dispatches from a Life in Transit (Iowa University Press) and Drinking Mare’s Milk on the Roof of the World: Wandering the Globe from Azerbaijan to Zanzibar (OR Books), and a novel, Born Slippy (Repeater/Penguin Random House). These books have been translated into 12 languages and published in dozens of countries. He has published in scores newspapers, magazines, literary and academic journals, and in many edited collections.

He also works as a screenwriter for film and television, and is the founding Editor in Chief and Publisher of The Los Angeles Review of Books (including The LARB Radio Hour, the LARB Quarterly Journal, LARB Books, and the LARB Publishing Workshop). He lives in Los Angeles.

Connect with Tom:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

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