A poet writes slices of minimum wage America. It is: laconic, masculine, beautiful. It isn't: misogynistic, voyeristic, judgmental.
— Emma W
“Pink is a keen observer of the culture of minimum-wage jobs and low-rent studio apartments that is the reality of life for all those who don't find a cog space in today’s hyper-capitalist economy.” —The Guardian
Cone dealer, sunshine stealer, alleyway counselor, lunch lady to the homeless, friend to the dead, maker of sandwiches. Metal wrangler. Stag among stags. And so it goes—another journey through time spent punched in. A life's work of working for a living. Blood, death, and violence. Dirty dishes, dead roaches, and sparkler-lit nights. Nights ahead and no real fate. So open your mouths because the forecast calls for sprinkles. Thirteen delights, scooped and served. Let it melt down your hand. Let the sun burn your face. It's the ice cream man, and other stories.
About the Author
Sam Pink's books include Person, The No Hellos Diet, Hurt Others, Rontel, Witch Piss, and The Garbage Times/White Ibis. His writing has been published widely in print and on the Internet and translated into other languages. He currently lives in Michigan and sells paintings from instagram.com/sam_pink_art.
"The characters in Sam Pink’s stories exist on the fringes of American culture and are barely hanging on there . . . Pink’s narrator is a noticer, a recorder, a performer of his observations in a world where little beyond the moment matters, conversation is mostly a matter of trading wisecracks and insults, and circumstances are beyond one’s control. Pink can make perfect little sentences or poke fun at the tools of his craft. He can be funny, faux-profound, loopily self-aware. And, finally, against the drumbeat of 'no real fate,' he can insist: 'There is more than this. / And I matter absolutely, until I don’t.'" —Ellen Akins, The Washington Post
"Sam Pink’s latest book comprises 13 grisly, spare, and poetic stories that delve into the darkest corners of modern society—or, as Pink described in a 2018 Electric Literature interview, 'the garbage times'—and the wageworkers that inhabit it. Divided into sections on Chicago, Florida, and Michigan, Pink zooms in on the mundanities and dirty realities of labor—and the rare moments of humanity that manage to break through it." —BuzzFeed
"Pink’s charm lies not in his Bukowskian idolization of the Laborer or the Crust Punk but in his pearls of unexpected detail. From opera on the radio at the end of a grueling workday to treasure in an abandoned lot, Pink sees the holiness in the grit. His prose straddles stenography and manic poetry. Jiro Ono is perfecting a grain of sushi rice; Sam Pink is perfecting a poignant single-sentence paragraph . . . In Sam Pink’s world, people are aching and ugly and precious. He’s not the first to commemorate the everyday or the overlooked, but his distinctive candor is captivating, profound, and personal . . . In his latest collection, Pink bares his all—teeth and heart—and it’s a sight to behold." —Darina Sikmashvili, BOMB
"Brutal in its honesty yet also funny. Pink’s stories consist of awkward moments of forced connection and rants of anger that are hilarious but also unapologetically true." —Lyndsie Manusos, Book Riot
"It's almost impossible to describe one of Pink's books without relying on adjectives chronically overused to evoke a certain type of 21st-century voice-driven urban realism. His books are gritty, it's true; also cynical, often vicious, funny in a wry, despairing sort of way . . . Yet the feeling one leaves a Pink novel with is less world-weariness or disgust than the recognition of a tremulous, wavering kind of belief in tenderness, beauty, and hope. Expressing itself in Pink's signature single-sentence paragraphs, and replete with onomatopoetic belches, squelches, slurps, and titters, the voice that narrates this book is no exception to this rule . . . Pink, who is also a visual artist and a musician, continues exploring a world of the relentlessly profane with the kind of tender humanity usually reserved for stories more interested in the redemption of their characters. Pink is far too honest to fall into this trap. His characters don't need redemption so much as they need a sandwich, or a blanket, or someone to talk with in order to pass the time, and herein lies the collection's greatest, and most surprising, strength. A voice like none other writing today—Pink is riveting." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Pink's prose is sharp and tight, with short sentences fired off in rapid succession. Consequently, even longer stories like 'Blue Victoria' can be read quickly, and the whole collection could be finished in a day. Readers who miss Charles Bukowski's blue-collar-centered fiction will find lots to like here." —Booklist
"These stories make me feel like I'm eavesdropping, spying. They are the glass against the door and the ear hovering over it, the keyhole and the eye peering through. Sam Pink writes grit and beauty just as they are—no cheap tricks, no overblown metaphors. He gives us true laughter in the face of despair. Give this book to anyone who thinks they hate reading. Give this book to your best friend and your enemies. The Ice Cream Man is for all of us, is all of us." —Kristen Iskandrian, author of Motherest
"There's really nothing like Sam Pink. He's one of my all-time favorite writers, and The Ice Cream Man and Other Stories is truly excellent. These stories are abruptly funny; strange in an oddly familiar way; sometimes super sad; always, always generous; and an absolute pleasure to read." —Halle Butler, author of The New Me