by Sam Lipsyte
from the July 5, 2021 issue of The New Yorker
It’s surreal how fast the year is passing. With this story, though we have access to it in this final week of June, we enter into the last half of the year. I hope wherever you are that great days are ahead of you. I also hope that we have a good Sam Lipsyte story in this week’s issue! When I first started tracking the New Yorker fiction on this site, Lipsyte was pretty regular with a story in 2010, two in 2011, and one in each of 2012 and 2014, but since then we have only had one other than the current one, in November 2018. I have tended to enjoy his work, and other commenters have liked it even more, so welcome back to these pages!
“My Apology” looks interesting. Here is how it begins:
My apology, Leffler informs me, is tone-deaf and insufficient.
“But that’s O.K.,” Beekman says. “There is still time to revise.”
“But not much time,” Leffler says. “It’s too late to get out in front. But you can still come abreast.”
“But, of course, there are better ways to say that nowadays,” Beekman says to Leffler.
“But of course, but of course,” Leffler says.
Is there ever laughter in an office that isn’t at least a little nervous?
“So,” I say, “as you are both my bosses, not to mention my mentors, do you have any tips on how best to approach this apology revision?”
“Be less tone-deaf,” Beekman says.
“Be more sufficient,” Leffler adds.
One of the ways I was disconnected with Lipsyte in the past was the sense that a lot of his writing was leading up to a punchline. That’s the case here, but I’m on board in this case. Maybe I would be on board on all of them if I went back to reread now. I look forward to seeing how it all gets handled here! Please feel free to share your thoughts below!