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The Garbage Times/White Ibis: Two Novellas

274 pages3 hours


Pink stands out among writers who explore the thoughts and feelings we all have but hide or forget; he excavates moments of isolation, boredom, despair, and disgust with a singular honesty and humor. Pink writes with the minimalist humor and detachment of Mary Robison, the loving attention to minutiae of Nicholson Baker, and the clarity and emotional rawness of John Fante. The Garbage Times/White Ibis is a chance to bring a beloved cult writer to a wider audience.

Praise from booksellers

"With so many emotions stirred up while reading, this book is hilarious, intense, heart warming, and surreal. Sam Pink's honesty and style make for a very poetic and lyrical prose in what I feel, reads like a modern day journey through the underworld. At the same time, brilliant and strangely uplifting."—Rob Hawthorn, Gallery Bookshop (Mendocino, CA)

"Sam Pink's The Garbage Times/White Ibis is unique in terms of its contents as well as its physical presentation. The visual juxtaposition of the two halves of the whole does much to emphasize the different lenses through which the world is viewed in each portion. In The Garbage Times we are treated to Pink's nonchalant and spitefully humorous narration of his own poverty and numbness; working in a Chicago dive bar, mucking through the shit and making jack squat. The Garbage Times gives off the vibe of telling a cruel world 'Haha, yeah well, fuck you, too!' and I adore it. Continuing on into White Ibis we travel along with Pink through the changes in his life, ride along on an upswing. Still broke as hell but in a better place with himself and the world at large. We see marvelous humor at the smallest of events and deep appreciation for the little things, like a gas station clerk with an extensive stuffed animal collection, or a weird little Girl Scout learning how to love her own strangeness. The joining of these two works brings together two sides of the coin of lived experience; sometimes life is garbage, and in other moments it is nothing short of moving." —Jack Hawthorn, Raven Bookstore (Lawrence, KS)

"Upsetting, moving, and so so . . . SO funny. The Garbage Times/White Ibis follows a guy and his settling into the fuck-you beauty of the world, with a two-part story that has a clever flip-over design like so many special summer editions of teen magazines before it. The main difference between the two parts is geographic—The Garbage Times is set in cold, sewage-coated, rat-infested Chicago, while White Ibis takes place in densely green, animal-full, family-party-crazy, humid Tampa Bay, Florida—but subtler advances in spirit weave their way into the second part (White Ibis); though our guy is still broke and anxious and not a super great fit for the world, his heart is growing as he opens it to his girl, her family, an expanding menagerie (a kitten named Dottie, a chocolate hamdog named Bam, and a street cat named Benito 'Benny' Bahama), a kindred misfit Girl Scout, and the chillest white ibis on the block. Sam Pink is a writer with incredible timing, a cool unique style, and a way of describing people/places/things/states of being that I find buoyant and refreshing—this weird book made me sick to my stomach, laugh a whole lot, and markedly happier after finishing it." —Molly Moore, BookPeople (Austin, TX)

"This book is alive. Sam Pink's writing makes me feel things I didn't know about. Hopefully these two novellas will make you laugh and cry, too." —Sam, Square Books (Oxford, MS)

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