The Vegan: A Novel (Hardcover)
In The Vegan, Andrew Lipstein challenges our notions of virtue with a brilliant tale of guilt, greed, and how far we’ll go to be good.
Herschel Caine is a soon-to-be master of the universe. His hedge fund, built on the miracle of machine learning, is inches away from systematically extracting obscene profits from the market. His SoHo offices (shoes optional, therapy required) have been fine-tuned to reel in curious investors.
But on the night of May 12, at his elegant Cobble Hill townhouse, he has something else on his mind—the dinner party he and his wife have devised to woo their new A-list neighbors. When the evening fizzles, Herschel indulges in a devilish prank that goes horrifically awry, plunging him into a tailspin of guilt and regret. As Herschel’s tightly constructed world starts to unravel, he clings to the moral clarity he finds in the last place he’d expect: a sudden connection with a neighborhood dog.
A wildly inventive, reality-bending trip, The Vegan holds a mirror up to its reader and poses a question only a hedge fund manager could ask: Is purity a convertible asset? The more Herschel disavows his original sin, and the more it threatens to be revealed, the more it becomes something else entirely—a way into a forgotten world of animals, nature, and life beyond words.
About the Author
Andrew Lipstein is the author of Last Resort (FSG, 2022), a novel “you’ll think about . . . for weeks after you read the last pages” (Los Angeles Times). He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and son.
Named a Must-Read Book of 2023 by TIME
A most anticipated book from The New York Times • Vanity Fair • ELLE • Town & Country • Shondaland • i-D • Lit Hub & more
"Andrew Lipstein follow[s] up his first novel, Last Resort, about the publishing world, with The Vegan, which explores more universal themes . . . You root for its thinky, troubled hero, even while you enjoy watching him sweat . . . Not since Jonathan Safran Foer’ s Eating Animals has a Brooklyn writer made so plain a case for greater sensitivity to the natural world. And The Vegan, a pig in a blanket of irony, subversion and humor, is much easier to swallow." — Alexandra Jacobs, The New York Times
"Greed, The Vegan implies . . . needn’t involve backstabbing. It can be as passive as eating lamb shawarma for lunch . . . Keeps the growing genre fresh.” — Maddie Crum, The Washington Post
"Ethics and exploitation come to the fore in a . . . lunatic satire about corporate America . . . real suspense . . . a frantic, almost hysterically told story." — The Wall Street Journal
"Thought-provoking . . . eloquent . . . propulsive." — Stuart Miller, Los Angeles Times
"The writing is lilting, grandiose, dense, run-ons full of action and metaphor. It reads like if Martin Amis wrote Money about a more distinguished salesman . . . Lipstein asks us to investigate what's harmed and what's lost in our relentless progression, and what sacrifices might be necessary to stop the forward march." — Mary Childs, NPR
"A propulsive, wild ride." — Keziah Weir, Vanity Fair
"At once bracingly contemporary and deeply strange . . . The Vegan channels the queasy paranoia of an era when the fear of human extinction via machine learning can make even masters of the universe feel like trapped animals." — Judy Berman, TIME
"[The Vegan] sets a series of dead-serious moral traps for its protagonist . . . but is also very funny, and Lipstein's writing voice is sleek and constrained." — Emma Alpern, Vulture
"One of my favourite books . . . poignant, but also really funny and lightly written . . . grapples with ethical questions in a really sensitive way.” — Financial Times
“[The Vegan] explores an elaborate idea, but Lipstein's limpid prose makes it both intelligible and persuasive.” — Literary Review
“Exquisite . . . perfectly pitched between farce and poignancy.” — i
“One of the best new writers in America, Andrew Lipstein’s second novel The Vegan is a hazy, stream-of-consciousness exploration dissecting the difficulties of needing to be seen as good when the world is seemingly against it . . . One of the most interesting character studies of the year.” — Sam Franzini, Our Culture
"One of the year's finest novels." — Largehearted Boy
"The Vegan skewers capitalism, consumerism, and milquetoast morality in its pointed teeth.” — Lauren Puckett-Pope, ELLE
“Andrew Lipstein’s second novel, The Vegan, is a wildly engaging look into a business and tech powerhouse on the brink of major success.” — Shelbi Polk, Shondaland
"You will want to tear through this ingenious tale in one sitting, but I urge you to resist and wallow in the strange, hilarious, whip-smart world Andrew Lipstein has built. Exacting, upending and constantly surprising, I loved this novel.” — Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, author of Good Company
"In his engrossing new novel, Andrew Lipstein has produced a feverish, fantastically surprising parable about guilt, money, and (curveball) the lives of animals. It reads like the unholy offspring of Saul Bellow's Seize the Day and Julio Cortázar's cosmic short fiction, or Crime and Punishment for the Brooklyn brownstone set. I tore through it." — Andrew Martin, author of Cool for America
"Andrew Lipstein's The Vegan is a meaty comedy with a bleeding heart, highly recommended for all animals who read." — Joshua Cohen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Netanyahus
“Engrossing … there’s genuine suspense in Lipstein’s meaty novel of ideas. This is well worth the investment.” — Publishers Weekly
“The Vegan is the weirdest novel I’ve read in ages. In a good way. A genre unto itself. Skillfully written and strangely addictive.” — Lionel Shriver, author of Should We Stay or Should We Go
"I tore through Andrew Lipstein’s second novel. Smart, fresh, funny, strangely moving, wonderfully weird and beautifully written, The Vegan is just a terrific book." — Laird Hunt, author of Zorrie
“[The Vegan] uses juxtaposition to surprising effect: philosophy mixes with financial thriller, high capitalism with animalia. But things are never as dissimilar as they first seem—sometimes, the book says, when our lives and beliefs bend so far, they can ultimately make a full circle. A topsy-turvy investigation of that most disorienting question: What does it mean to be a good person?” —Kirkus Reviews
"With mind-bending skillfulness, The Vegan plumbs the back alleys of morality without ever moralizing. This is storytelling that feels sharply contemporary, dizzyingly intelligent, and utterly original. " — Allegra Hyde, author of The Last Catastrophe
"Andrew Lipstein’s hilarious, acid-tart, spot-on, and deeply unnerving novel The Vegan follows its privileged narrator as his inability to tolerate his own guilt and complicity deranges him. We can't turn away as he follows his impulse, both righteous and ridiculous, to burn it all down. Lipstein has written a precise, weird, and wildly propulsive take on modern American ethical and moral bankruptcy." — Dana Spiotta, author of Wayward
"A fresh, witty, masterfully crafted morality tale for the modern age. Lipstein has conceived an unforgettable character, terrifyingly real, who could have walked out of an episode of Succession. I absolutely (bordering on obsessively) loved this novel." — Virginia Feito, author of Miss March
"I ignored house and home to read this propulsive story of impulse, guilt, and resolve. A dazzling and resonant allegory for our moral moment." — Julia May Jonas, author of Vladimir
"The Vegan is unexpectedly hilarious in the face of doom. Andrew Lipstein has managed to create gruesomely cinematic scenes within a contemporary landscape of greed, and it's amazing to watch." — Chelsea Hodson, author of Tonight I'm Someone Else
"A sharply observed literary novel with elements of satire and intrigue baked into the mix, The Vegan is a deftly told morality tale for our time." — Jonathan Tropper, author of One Last Thing Before I Go
"A funny, intelligent page-turner, The Vegan explores what it means to have self-determination and to take it from another—or to have it taken from you. It unfolds in a delectably paranoid fever dream that possesses a Kafkaesque strangeness, humor, and moral terror. One of the most entertaining and beguiling novels I’ve read in years. Lipstein has quickly joined the ranks of my favorite contemporary novelists." — Cara Blue Adams, author of You Never Get It Back
"The Vegan is a literary journey as carnal as it is clever. Comedic, profound, and charmingly weird, Lipstein’s second novel is irresistible fare for all bibliovores. Eat up." — Mark Prins, author of The Latinist