Despite the cool cover, Adam Levin’s Hot Pink is the worst short story collection I have read since Justin Taylor’s Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever. I tried reading Levin’s massive 1000 page novel The Instructions last year, and if these stories are anything like that huge book, I am glad I stopped when I did. There isn’t a note in any of these stories that ring true or genuine or written with any kind of originality. While I discussed postmodernism a few reviews back, I would like to apologize to Padgett Powell; these stories are the kind of postmodern exercises I feel are written with zero signs of effort in both the writing off, and the effect it will have on the reader. The writer seems too preoccupied with his sense of self to worry about whether or not what he is writing is boring the reader to tears. Despite my vitriol, I didn’t hate all of this collection. While I did not like most of it, it did have it’s bright spots, like the story “Jane Tell”, about a doomed romance set within the community of Narcotics Anonymous. There are moments in this story that are really emotionally resonant. And the story “Scientific American”, about a family’s house oozing a weird kind of gel out of its walls is quite funny as well. But even these stories have problems, with each respectively trying to resurrect the spirit of Infinite Jest and House of Leaves, which really needs to stop, especially for Infinite Jest. It is sad and insulting when it occurs. It is books like this that really leave a bad taste in my mouth about what can pass for literature sometimes. For every great author bringing to the public his or her unique vision to an eager public, there is a book like this turning literature into a silly game of one-upmanship in boredom.