Author, Editor, Critic
An acclaimed author, journalist and critic whose work ranges from sharply observed celebrity profiles to deeply personal books about society, class and intimacy, Sam Lansky has emerged as one of his generation’s most singular voices.
Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Lansky spent his adolescence in New York City; his teenage struggle with addiction and subsequent recovery was the subject of his 2016 memoir, The Gilded Razor, which Lansky is adapting as a feature film with Oscar-winning filmmaker Dustin Lance Black.
A graduate of The New School, Lansky wrote for New York, Esquire, The Atlantic and Out before joining the masthead at Time, where he now contributes as West Coast Editor.
Lansky’s second book, the novel Broken People, was published by HarperCollins in June.
“Lansky proves himself a talented writer of fiction...Unsparingly honest, but also funny and mordant, willing to use his life and what he does to his body to comment on issues larger than himself...Lansky is a piercing observer of gay men and the often fraught relationships we have with our own bodies...We need more books like Lansky’s, ones that investigate why political progress doesn’t always translate to self-acceptance for queer people.” –Claiborne Smith, The New York Times Book Review
“Lansky’s writing [has] an easy humor combined with some of the rough edges of early Bret Easton Ellis. And he writes with depth and candor about male body image, a subject that tends to get short shrift in fiction. –Mark Athitakis, USA TODAY
“A searing read about truth and identity.”—Harper’s Bazaar
“Bittersweet and delightfully circuitous...reminding us of the inconveniently true maxim that in order to heal, you first have to make some semblance of peace with yourself.”—Vogue
“A haunting, honest, and humorous portrayal of how hard it is to find shelter from the ghosts of
one's past.”—O, The Oprah Magazine
“Riveting... With humor, verve, and cut-to-the-bone revelations, Lansky takes readers on an enthralling adventure...the author keeps the reader on his side with an endless supply of wit. Lansky’s tale of self-acceptance offers surprising depth...Lansky’s mesmerizing descriptions are unflinchingly raw.”—Publishers Weekly
“Vividly realized...remains the story of one man’s deep personal struggles while at the same time speaking to and for all the broken people in this world....a deeply felt journey.”—Library Journal
“Surprising, nuanced, and compelling... The novel captures a very now portrait of contemporary privileged gay male life, narrated in an authentic voice and painted in a full, ugly-to-beautiful spectrum.”—Booklist
“It's a smart, observant story that asks big questions about how we can heal ourselves and what the cost of inner peace can be.” —Town & Country
“He fixes everything that’s wrong with you in three days.”
This is what hooks Sam when he first overhears it at a fancy dinner party in the Hollywood hills: the story of a globe-trotting shaman who claims to perform “open-soul surgery” on emotionally damaged people. For neurotic, depressed Sam, new to Los Angeles after his life in New York imploded, the possibility of total transformation is utterly tantalizing. He’s desperate for something to believe in, and the shaman—who promises ancient rituals, plant medicine and encounters with the divine—seems convincing, enough for Sam to sign up for a weekend under his care.
But are the great spirits the shaman says he’s summoning real at all? Or are the ghosts in Sam’s memory more powerful than any magic?
At turns tender and acid, funny and wise, Broken People is a journey into the nature of truth and fiction—a story of discovering hope amid cynicism, intimacy within chaos and peace in our own skin.