August 18, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

Lost in Place

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Mark Salzman
publisher
Random House
genre
Memoir
We gave it a B-

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-

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