I had heard a lot about this collection and was curious to see if the clever wit I associate with Novak as a producer and writer on The Office would translate to his short stories. They’re notoriously tricky to write and even trickier to sell from a publisher’s point of view. Novak, on the other hand, brings something refreshing to his short stories. Sure, sometimes he tries a little too hard to be clever but he is clever. And funny. And biting. And vulnerable. He understands people and so he understands humor. It’s one of the most surprising books out in the market right now and I look forward to his career as a writer.
In Teddy Wayne’s New York Times Review “Out of Character” he writes, “The melancholy sensibility and verbal élan elevate Novak’s book beyond a small-beer exercise in clever monkeyshines and into a stiff literary cocktail, with a healthy pour of vintage Woody Allen and a dash of George Saunders strained through a Donald Barthelme sieve — droll and smart in spades, but often humane and vulnerable, too.” No one could put it better than that.