The Cry of the Sloth: Book summary and reviews of The Cry of the Sloth by Sam Savage

The Cry of the Sloth

By Sam Savage

The Cry of the Sloth
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2009,
    224 pages.

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. [A] scathingly funny epistolary pastiche" - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Set in the early Seventies, this book will certainly appeal to boomers and seniors, but it would also be a great read for young adults. Its best audience would be other writers and creative individuals generally, and it would be a delightful reading-group choice." - Library Journal

"Starred Review." - Kirkus Reviews

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Author Information

Sam Savage Author Biography

Sam Savage is a native of South Carolina who lives in Madison, Wisconsin. He received his bachelor and doctoral degree from Yale University where he taught briefly, and has also worked as a bicycle mechanic, carpenter, commercial fisherman, and letterpress printer.

After receiving his Ph.D. in the field of computer science from Yale University in 1973, Sam spent a year at General Motors Research Laboratory, and then joined the Management Science faculty of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. In 1985 Dr. Savage led the development of a software package that won PC Magazine's Technical Excellence Award in 1986. Sam has worked ever since to bring analytical tools to managers in an algebra free environment. In 1990, Sam moved to Stanford, where he teaches Management ...

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