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The Sugar Frosted Nutsack: A Novel Audiobook, by Mark Leyner Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Mark Leyner Narrator: Mark Leyner Publisher: Little, Brown & Company Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2012 ISBN: 9781611135152
2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 2.00 (421 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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From the bestselling and wildly imaginative novelist Mark Leyner, a romp through the excesses and exploits of gods and mortals. High above the bustling streets of Dubai, in the world's tallest and most luxurious skyscraper, reside the gods and goddesses of the modern world. Since they emerged 14 billion years ago from a bus blaring a tune remarkably similar to the Mister Softee jingle, they've wreaked mischief and havoc on mankind. Unable to control their jealousies, the gods have splintered into several factions, led by the immortal enemies XOXO, Shanice, La Felina, Fast-Cooking Ali, and Mogul Magoo. Ike Karton, an unemployed butcher from New Jersey, is their current obsession. Ritualistically recited by a cast of drug-addled bards, The Sugar Frosted Nutsack is Ike's epic story. A raucous tale of gods and men confronting lust, ambition, death, and the eternal verities, it is a wildly fun, wickedly fast gambol through the unmapped corridors of the imagination.

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Quotes & Awards

  • The Sugar Frosted Nutsack is dizzyingly brilliant. Mark Leyner is a hyperkinetic shaman, who flies the banner of rum and candy and writes like a one-eyed feral bandit. His new book is supremely original, delirious and synapse-shattering.”

    John Cusack

  • “A total delight. Like tweaking out on a super trippy crystal meth high, but without the crash of annihilating depression that normally follows. Not that I really know this for sure since I’ve never actually been high.”

    Todd Solondz, director of Welcome to the Dollhouse, Happiness, Storytelling, and Palindromes 

  • The Sugar Frosted Nutsack is, like Leyner’s previous novels, intermittently miraculous and often hilarious. It is also, unlike his previous novels, at times almost achingly sad.”

    New Times Magazine

  • “This stream-of-consciousness–laden gospel gradually reveals that the book itself is the eternal story of Ike Karton, a 48-year-old, anti-Semitic everyman from New Jersey…There’s nothing quite like Leyner on a roll.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • An eMusic Best Audiobook of the Year in 2012

Listener Reviews

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  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Roxanne | 2/10/2014

    " At first I was yo-yoing between amusement and annoyance. As it wore on, I inclined toward the latter. It guess it's not as bad as the Tao Lin brand of postmodernism; it is, after all, somewhat coherent. I feel like fans would defend this book as satire or something when really it's just repetitive and unenjoyable. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Elizabeth | 1/22/2014

    " Too clever for its own good. I didn't get very far in this book, but when I realized I pictured the author continually chuckling with glee over his own facile wittiness - and that I hadn't picked it up in three days - I gave up. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jim | 1/2/2014

    " Mark Leyner's new book has been getting a lot of media attention, partly because it's a "comeback" book, and partly because he is associated with the generation that includes David Foster Wallace and Jonathan Franzen. (Apparently there is a YouTube video of an old episode of "Charlie Rose" with Leyner, Wallace, and Franzen as the guests, made before Franzen was widely known.) [return][return]The reviews I have seen praise Leyner mainly for going there: he says things and writes in ways that are not usually permitted in novels. (One reviewer put it that way: he was astonished at what he read, and wondered, "Is that permitted?") People say his writing is astonishing, virtuoso, brilliant. People find him hilarious; reviewers mention how they laughed -- often, loudly, even continuously. An especially common sentiment is that his work makes other novels seem old-fashioned. Here is one of the Amazon reviews, in full:[return][return]"It took me exactly 3 pages of this book to make me realize that I've been ever so slightly bored with every other book I've read... since Leyner's last book. This is the divine comedy."[return][return]I won't deny I smiled a number of times reading the book: it would be hard not to smile when Leyner is telling us, for example, that J.D. Salinger wrote an article with A.J. Foyt and published it in "Highlights for Children." The book's central conceit, that the universe is run by a white van-load full of gods who appeared about 14 billion years ago and are obsessed with someone named Ike who lives in New Jersey, is the kind of opening move that announces -- all by itself, with no need for an accompanying novel -- that as soon as any rule of novel writing, or even of propriety, appears, it will be happily broken. [return][return]But I never laughed reading "The Sugar-Frosted Nutsack." I tried to picture the sort of reader Leyner was imagining: such a person would come to the novel with her head filled with Austen, Tolstoy, Nabokov, Forster, Greene, Roth, Updike, and especially Franzen, Ford, McCarthy, Proulx... and by the very first page they'd be shocked, dismayed, and delighted. (This is one reason, I think, why Wallace once envied Leyner, even though Wallace tried hard not to depend on fireworks, paranoia, virtuoso writing, and hallucigenic scenarios.) [return][return]It is more difficult to imagine the kind of reader for whom the entire book is funny, joke after joke. Several reviewers hinted that the book became boring, but reviewers who liked "The Sugar-Frosted Nutsack" (like the one quoted above) tend to identify it as a kind of revelation of the inherently boring nature of other books. Boredom figures in Leyner's work in a complicated way; for me, thinking about boredom was the most interesting part of reading.[return][return]The book staves off something that counts as boredom by keeping up a nearly uniform pitch of hysteria. In the entire book there are only a few moments in which the narrator's voice relaxes -- when the double exclamation marks, italics, pop culture references, scattered references, Pynchonesque paranoia, Barth-like meta-references, all around goofiness, and boldface celebrity names let up just a little. One such passage is a list of things that Ike, the hero, loved about his childhood. Without its context, that list would be a lyrical, unironic, nostalgic evocation of memories that have largely been lost. In context, it's drowned out by the gods and their craziness. Another passage, also a list, is about what men can understand about women. It turns out it was plagiarized from "O," Oprah's magazine. The novel itself admits that, and it's also credited in the endpapers. Out of context, that list would be sincere and heartfelt (as it would have been in "O"); in the novel it's said that people who take the list that way are hard to figure out.[return][return]What, then, cold count as boredom in this book? Here are two possible positions:[return][return]1. For me, it's the flood of writing itself that became boring, mainly because it was unmodulated (except for those interesting brief passages), and also because the individual jokes weren't funny. And that, in turn, was because I am used to unexpected juxtapositions of high and low culture, past and present, sense and nonsense, seriousness and irony: those kinds of jolts were a stock in trade of first-generation postmodernism. If you find it humorous to see Mircea Eliade's name juxtaposed with the name the god of testicles, that may be because you are anxious about the values and meanings of serious culture, philosophy, high art, and so forth, so it's a relief to see them deflated. If you aren't anxious, then it isn't especially funny to see those juxtapositions: they are a little funny, sure, but not in a sustainable way.[return][return]2. For some of Leyner's fans, the flood is the opposite of boring, and it reveals the fundamentally boring nature of other novels. Readers who are energized by a continuous barrage of wild writing are, I think, good examples of what the philosopher Karsten Harries called the "kitsch economy." In kitsch, what matters is effects, and in each repetition they have to be done more intensely, more densely, than before. The "kitsch economy" is tied to perpetual inflation: each new novel, film, painting, or composition has to have more special effects than the one before, because the effect of each innovation -- the hit, the force of the drug -- wears off. Readers who find that Leyner makes other novelists boring will soon be needing him, or someone else, to be more outrageous, more condensed, more brilliant...[return][return]Boredom and its opposites (attention, immersion, absorption) are one of the themes that makes the book interesting. Another is what counts as funny, and why. Those were the kinds of things I was thinking of as I read. The book's repetitiveness, which some reviewers criticized, is part of the whole game: if what matters is to be entertained continuously, with no letup, and if one of the ways of accomplishing that is to be perverse, then what better strategy than to make repetition part of the plot? The book would have been twice as good if it were twice as long. Or, in the spirit of Oulipo: it would have been a thousand times as good if it were a thousand times longer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sage | 12/28/2013

    " This is probably the only book I've read with backwards writing in it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt | 12/25/2013

    " The recursivity of the storytelling eventually adds up to something, but im not sure what. The churning repetition sets up a rythm that becomes hypnotic ala the blind orange soda swilling bards in the story itself, and oscillates between boring and enthralling. The Safest thing I can say is that i smiled and laughed aloud multiple times throughout the book, and that when I want to read contemporary satire Leyner is still the go to. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Misty | 12/20/2013

    " I do not know what to make of this... Novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane | 12/11/2013

    " Feel like I was on a trip - a weird but amusing trip. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ryan | 11/15/2013

    " In an ideal world, this would win a Pulitzer. It's more observant of American culture than 95% of "straightforward" literary novels. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bruce | 11/7/2013

    " Gut-bustingly hilarious! Delightful, fun, imaginative read. Leyner could have made the book even better by shortening it a little bit (went on for too long without really adding anything), but still ... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jason | 5/21/2013

    " That's it. I'm tapping out. I hate to do it but I can't read another annoying word of this book. I hope everyone enjoys it but I find it unbearable. Id rather read a thesaurus. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joel | 3/6/2013

    " i gave up on this one (in audio form) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Axme | 1/13/2013

    " There is only so much milage you can get from a very old, and not very clever, joke about Dick Van Dike. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Heather | 8/23/2012

    " Some witty snide bits but for the most part reads like a bad Chuck Klosterman novel, rambling and all over the place. Bleh. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Richard | 8/18/2012

    " Started out strong, but ended up very repetitive. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Charity | 7/20/2012

    " While I finished it, this is unreadable it is so terrible in every aspect that a book has. The first 36 pages were the only section that I remotely found appealing. "

About the Author

Mark Leyner is the author of several novels, including My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist, and Et Tu, Babe. His nonfiction works include Why Do Men Have Nipples?, Why Do Men Fall Asleep after Sex?, and Let’s Play Doctor. Leyner also cowrote the movie War, Inc. with John Cusack.