A review of

Lipshitz Six,
or Two Angry Blondes

by T Cooper

Central question: How do one generation’s neuroses follow the family tree?
Format: 435 pp., cloth; Size: 6" x 9"; Price: $24.95; Publisher: Dutton; Editor: Erika Kahn; Cover design: Mary E. O’Boyle and T Cooper; Interior design: Amy Hill; Typeface: Garamond; Minimum number of fonts used: Nine; Most distinguished-sounding font used: Mrs. Eaves; Least distinguished-sounding: Trixie; Minimum number of Eminem albums author owns: Eight; Representative sentence: “It’s as inevitable and predictable as rappers rapping about blunts, bitches, 40s and Gs on their sophomore albums: ‘Important details have sometimes been dramatized in order to serve my own purposes as an artist.’”

If sexual identity can be cooked up into myriad forms, like rice into sticky balls or candy or paper, and anything categorized as autobiography nowadays is met with skepticism, how do we confront a work that’s part dark history and part lighthearted, self-conscious, gender-flexing fiction? T Cooper’s second book conjures the conundrum—and casually shrugs it off.

That two-part notion is reflected in the diptych structure of Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes. Part I is a weighty chronicle of the Lipshitzes’ emigration from Kishinev, in western Russia, and their subsequent life on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and in Amarillo, Texas. Full of weary father figures and aptly placed metatextual embellishments, the section could stand alone. But a shorter, codalike section infuses the work with a staggering self-confidence.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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—Christine Lagorio

Christine Lagorio has written about university professors who watch pro wrestling and about poets in the army. She has contributed to a number of weekly newspapers as well as the Washington Post and CBS News. She often reads on the subway.

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