Mark Luce

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.

Recent Stories

Memories of Learnard

A piece by Mark Luce

My son, Miles, was conceived in William S. Burroughs' bedroom. Perhaps I should explain.

Cox's latest is no 'Bargain'

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.

'Gob's Grief' unconvincing

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.

Books to seek out or forget

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.

Comics relief

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.

'Being Dead' comes alive

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.

Sarajevo native becoming master of written word

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.

Burroughs exhibit elicits strong response

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."

Gallery, artists deal with headaches

Only William S. Burroughs seemed untouched by the "insanity" of his exhibit's opening, a friend said.

Stars come out for private Burroughs art reception

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.

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