Books by Mark Slouka

Released: June 26, 2018

"These are subtle, meditative, well-crafted stories, death-backed but life-affirming."
The latest collection from Slouka (Brewster, 2013, etc.), whose work has won an O. Henry Prize and appeared in Best American Short Stories, features 15 crisp, poignant, mostly downbeat tales. Read full book review >
NOBODY'S SON by Mark Slouka
Released: Oct. 18, 2016

"A moving and intense memoir from a gifted author."
A distinguished novelist and short story writer's memoir about uncovering a painful family past he had "hidden…in fiction, story after story, book after book." Read full book review >
BREWSTER by Mark Slouka
Released: Aug. 5, 2013

"Flawed, but unmistakably the work of an accomplished writer."
Slouka's third novel, set mainly in 1968 in hardscrabble Brewster, N.Y., is a departure from his last, the dark and lyrical World War II book The Visible World (2007). Read full book review >
Released: April 19, 2007

"An eloquent testament to the power of storytelling."
More innovative fiction from the critically esteemed Slouka (God's Fool, 2002, etc.): a subtle, nimble novel that's part fictional memoir, part literary thriller/romance. Read full book review >
GOD’S FOOL by Mark Slouka
Released: May 23, 2002

"Splendid, with notable film potential."
Another absorbing and poignant first novel (after Darin Strauss's Chang and Eng, 2000) about the life journey of the first Siamese twins in recorded history. Read full book review >
LOST LAKE by Mark Slouka
Released: May 1, 1998

A first collection of 12 stories, all of them subtle and all about fishing, linked also by their setting in upstate New York and their recurring characters. Slouka is also the author of a thoughtful nonfiction critique of the "digital revolution"(War of the Worlds, 1995). First is the longish "The Shape of Water," a precise reminiscence about a wharf, a lake, particular people, and a great fish the narrator's father caught—a lyrical memory of childhood. But the narrator, looking back from adulthood, has to admit that he may have imagined the event out of longing for just such a perfect day. After so poetic a beginning, the earthy "Genesis," about the flamboyant Simon Colby, who created the lake, is a delight. Colby, after losing an arm in the Spanish-American War, walks home from Georgia simply to see the country. When he arrives, he marches into a dance, picks out the prettiest girl, and proposes. Then he successfully promotes the lake and prospers on the tourist trade. In the beautiful, simple "Equinox," the death of a lineman trying to restore power is balanced by the rescue of a child who might have drowned—and yet in neither case, Slouka suggests, is fate anything but random. Finally, the narrator of —The Shape of Water— returns to the lake after an absence of many years and catches a great fish. Going off to attend a crisis, he leaves it on a trotline. When at last he returns, it's to find that some other lake animal has devoured his catch. Thus, Slouka returns to the themes of his dreamy beginning: memory dissolves into the shape of water, life is in some way always a mystery, some part of it "forever unknown to us." Nice. Slouka may be even too subtle, however, and he will suffer from the inevitable comparison with Norman MacLean's A River Runs Through It, which is also about memory, loss, and, of course, fishing. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 16, 1995

A persuasive and much-needed humanistic response to the fevered rhetoric surrounding the information superhighway, virtual reality, and other digital technologies. Expertly using the very words of the leaders and promoters of the digital revolution—people such as MIT professor Michael Heim, Wired executive editor Kevin Kelly, ``Grateful Dead lyricist- turned-computer-cowboy'' John Perry Barlow, and researcher Nicole Stenger, members of the self-styled ``digerati''—Slouka (English and Popular Culture/Univ. of California, San Diego) portrays them as a new breed of apocalyptic utopians whose interest in digital technologies stems from a desire to reject the quotidian messiness of real life in favor of computer-generated simulations. He highlights the almost gnostic loathing of the material world that lies behind much of the digerati's enthusiasm and argues that elitism and a strain of totalitarian arrogance make the wired movement dangerous. Slouka counters these utopian visions with examples of the banality that actually predominates on the Net and argues that real-world problems in places like Bosnia and Somalia will hardly be addressed by the digital revolution. At times the author's rhetoric seems as extreme as that of his opponents, and he tends to include only evidence that supports his arguments (largely ignoring, for example, the majority of online enthusiasts who don't buy into the hype). But just when it appears that Slouka is overstating his case he'll pull out a quote in which the digerati express their hopes for utopia using such phrases as ``the ballast of materiality'' that indicate he may not be exaggerating much at all. It's certainly difficult to disagree with his contention that some focus on human needs and more engagement with the natural world should balance the digital rhetoric. Slouka's impassioned, intelligent essay makes an important contribution to the cultural assessment of cyberspace. (Author tour) Read full book review >