Lost in Place

Genre: Memoir; Author: Mark Salzman; Publisher: Random House

Mark Salzman is a superb novelist (The Soloist) whose imagination far outstrips his real life, so this pretty-good angst-filled autobiography of a not very anxious Connecticut adolescence does little justice to his enormous talent. He’s amusing even when whining about his drug-sodden teen years and trudging through his pointless obsession with kung fu (featuring a drunken sensei and a bogus black belt). Granted, there’s a moment toward the end of Lost in Place that’s fully as terrific as his fiction, but one mere moment of the real Salzman serves only to remind us of how much better the rest should be. If we’re lucky, this brilliant young man, potentially one of the best novelists of his generation, will stick to fiction until he’s 80 and has lived a life worth telling. B-

Originally posted August 18 1995 — 12:00 AM EDT

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