Mark Luce, Lawrence, serves on the board of directors for the National Book Critics Circle and writes book reviews for the San Francisco Chronicle and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
A piece by Mark Luce
My son, Miles, was conceived in William S. Burroughs' bedroom. Perhaps I should explain.
Emotionless stories don't elicit empathy for characters
By Mark Luce A brutal car wreck, perverted preachers, angry orphans and teen-age girls aflutter with adolescence sexuality.
Adrian's tale shows promise, but doesn't deliver
By Mark Luce When Walt Whitman wrote "In this head the all baffling brain/in it and below it the making of heroes," near the middle of "I Sing the Body Electric," he probably didn't imagine that more than a century later Chris Adrian would use a fictionalized portrayal of Big Daddy Walt as a human battery to bring back the dead of the Civil War.
The good was balanced by the bad in 2000
By Mark Luce A pox on the critics' breathless obligatory best 10 books of the year. Let's try something different a big ol' holiday gift list and cocktail party primer on the year in books. Here's the whole shootin' match of this reviewer's reading for the year the good, bad, the unfinished and the stunningly mediocre.
Novel pairs cousins' superhero literary effort with Nazi backdrop
By Mark Luce In two lively novels and two tight collections of short stories, Michael Chabon has established himself as a writer of rare wit, eloquent prose and uncanny charm. The knocks against him, normally by older critics, suggested that Chabon lacked intellectual heft, and some unfairly lumped him with young turks such as the model-obsessed Jay McInerney and "enfant terrible" Bret Easton Ellis.
Stark descriptions only exemplify author's skill
By Mark Luce On a Tuesday afternoon, married zoologists Joseph and Celice decide to take an outing to the beach and dunes where they first met nearly 30 years ago. By the middle of the first page of Jim Crace's incredible, haunting new novel, "Being Dead," the couple, in the midst of trying to recreate their first intimacies, are murdered by a sociopath wielding a large chunk of granite.
It's just not fair. Alexsandar Hemon has been writing in English for a grand total of about five years, and "The Question of Bruno" (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, $22.95), his insanely great collection of interlaced stories, shows that this Sarajevo native didn't take long to wrestle the language into submission.
One entry in a comment book at the exhibit's exit read: "Historical perspective on the cutting edge of artistic mind exploration." Another read: "Sick. Sick. Sick."
Only William S. Burroughs seemed untouched by the "insanity" of his exhibit's opening, a friend said.
The stars -- and a few protesters -- came out for a reception at a Los Angeles exhibit featuring non-literary works of Lawrence's William S. Burroughs.