Cry of the Sloth by Sam Savage

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Living on a diet of fried Spam, vodka, sardines, cupcakes, and Southern Comfort, Andrew Whittaker is slowly being sucked into the morass of middle age. A negligent landlord, small-time literary journal editor, and aspiring novelist, he is--quite literally--authoring his own downfall. From his letters, diary entries, and fragments of fiction, to grocery lists and posted signs, this novel is a collection of everything Whittaker commits to paper over the course of four critical months.

Beginning in July, during the economic hardships of the Nixon era, we witness our hero hounded by tenants and creditors, harassed by a loathsome local arts group, and tormented by his ex-wife. Determined to redeem his failures and eviscerate his enemies, Whittaker hatches a grand plan. But as winter nears, his difficulties accumulate, and the disorder of his life threatens to overwhelm him. As his hold on reality weakens and his schemes grow wilder, his self-image as a placid and slow-moving sloth evolves into that of a bizarre and frantic creature driven mad by solitude.

In this tragicomic portrait of a literary life, Sam Savage proves that all the evidence is in the writing, that all the world is, indeed, a stage, and that escape from the mind's prison requires a command performance.

About Sam Savage

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Sam Savage is the author of the bestseller Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife, an American Library Association Notable Book and Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award finalist. A native of South Carolina, Savage holds a PhD in philosophy from Yale University, was once an editor of a literary quarterly, and now lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
Published November 16, 2010 by Coffee House Press. 264 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Cry of the Sloth

Publishers Weekly

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Middle-aged underachiever Andy Whittaker plots a preposterous literary festival in this scathingly funny epistolary pastiche from Firmin author Savage. Andy is t

Jun 15 2009 | Read Full Review of Cry of the Sloth

The Guardian

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As Whittaker's life descends further into misery, he becomes obsessed with the tree sloth, a creature with "the most pitiable cry in the whole animal kingdom", a "wiffle" which, "though not exactly loud, has extraordinary carrying power".

Oct 30 2009 | Read Full Review of Cry of the Sloth

The Bookbag

The comic start, the fresh delivery and great voice of Whittaker are fine, but even so this felt at times like a too trivial sketch, a literary vignette, turned into a novel in a slightly disagreeable way.

Oct 06 2012 | Read Full Review of Cry of the Sloth

Bookmarks Magazine

By jonSun, 09/06/2009 - 20:05.

Sep 06 2009 | Read Full Review of Cry of the Sloth

Literary Kicks

Mark Sarvas passed over the book during the Morning News 2007 Tournament of Books, and cited this as one major reason: "Savage gives it his best shot, and at times Firmin is an affecting presence.

Oct 14 2009 | Read Full Review of Cry of the Sloth

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