[Ives's] newly published book, Loudermilk, a satire, explores a complex web of plot and episodes, thick descriptions, biting character arcs, poetic and philosophical precision, stylistically different stories/poems within stories, the nature of time, and the mirage of power (or the possibility of unveiling politics, and cracking open agency). By employing a classical theatrical technique of dramatis personae, rather than 'realistic' novel characters, perhaps Ives is able to move between so many registers that enable her unusual 'mash-up' to excel as at once philosophical and planted in the mud ... Ives’s style of satire shatters the dichotomy between meta-narrative and human empathy. Breaking such a distinction requires rare observational skill, patience, and multi-genre flexibility and curiosity ... 'the writer' offers endless material for representational consideration ... Ives’s scrutiny offers clarity, punctual comic timing, and practiced contemplation.
...a clever new satire ... It seems implausible to me that a shy literary boy would put himself so abjectly at the service of a hot jock out of no more than a confused gratitude for being implicated vicariously in the scrum of human society, but Ives’s novel is full of signs that she doesn’t think much of traditional literary shibboleths like three-dimensionality of character ... Ives scores some fine touches in her satire ... I never laughed out loud, though, and in the end I found myself more interested in the novel’s half-hidden earnest side: its exhibition, with persuasive bitterness, of the damage that can be wreaked by the idea that literature is competition, especially when the idea is institutionalized in a classroom ... Ives may relish breaking the rules of realism, but she breaks the rules of comic novels, too, when she insists that her losers win.
...hilarious ... Poetry, long thought to be the product of creative purity—and almost anti-capitalist in its unmarketability—becomes a tool for deception and self-promotion in Ives’s capable hands ... What exactly Loudermilk is after—money? unfettered access to female undergrads? cultural capital? pulling one over on the poetry world?—is never fully addressed. But the story isn’t any less captivating as a result ... Loudermilk is successful in getting readers to think about the origins of contemporary literature: The MFA program and the satellite communities that arise from it may be, after all, functional last bastions of literary ideas in the United States. But the novel falters when it tries to be about more than just Loudermilk’s deception ... To make matters more difficult, the novel is interspersed with giant chunks of [the character] Clare’s fiction, all of which is far less interesting than Harry’s poetry ... Still, Loudermilk is, overall, a riotous success. Equal parts campus novel, buddy comedy and meditation on art-making under late capitalism, the novel is a hugely funny portrait of an egomaniac and his nebbish best friend.
Lucy Ives’s funny, cerebral Loudermilk, which takes its epigraph ('Rilke was a jerk') from Berryman himself, lampoons...masculine swagger ... Ives’s hyperbolic satire—her outsized, loquacious characters, her stylistic brio—lays bare the central fallacy of 'write what you know.' In one sense, we believe Ives is drawing from her own, all-too-real experience. And yet, with its ludic meta-fictionality and the self-conscious construction of characters, the novel cleverly dodges knowable reality, circumventing the question of authenticity altogether ... Ives has constructed a postmodern playhouse to deflate the notion of authenticity[.]
At times, Ives’s new novel is one of the funniest in recent memory... and in some ways, Loudermilk is a kind of communication of Ives’s other publications, now primed and delivered in the Trump age as lasting satire with her prose at its most digestible ... Though the empirical distinctions between prose and poetry are often illusory, Ives finds a way to make her prose both a kind of communication—as is expected—as well as a construction of satire. Her words linger longer than normal trade, and find ways to avoid their disintegration, as if the must of a punchline is more lasting, more fragrant; words this eloquently framed and humorous imprint, and, often enough, hold us in their absurdity.
... [Ives] has a fondness for wordplay, and moves between registers to comic effect ... Some of this is very funny, but at times Ives’s targets feel like low-hanging fruit ... the reader doesn’t quite fall beneath Loudermilk’s spell. Perhaps this is the point—Loudermilk is a cipher—but it’s hard to get invested in so vacuous a hero ... Ives’s novel is meta-textual, sprinkled with the poems and stories that its characters turn in for class...what we’re presented with in Loudermilk resists easy interpretation ... When we can’t trust the gatekeepers to tell us what to think, we’re left only with our own unreliable subjectivity.
Ives' second novel...is half gonzo grad school satire...half theoretical inquiry into the nature of writing and reality ... Also included are several of the works Harry writes as T.A. Loudermilk—poems that set the entire student body and faculty back on their heels in awe. We're 99 percent sure the admiration these inspire is supposed to be a joke, but since there were a number of other things that went over our heads, we could be wrong. Wonder Boys meets Cyrano de Bergerac meets Jacques Lacan meets Animal House. Something for everyone.