THE MAKING OF TORO             Amazon

Simon & Schuster, 2003

Books like this are only written once or twice a century. Thank God. Hunter S. Thompson

Part travelogue, part romance, part send-up of literary fashions and wholly the mark of the quirkiest memoirist since David Sedaris. Top ten books of 2003. Detroit Free Press

Combining the self-deprecating wit of David Sedaris and the literary gamesmanship of DaveEggers . . . fabulously entertaining . . . The Making of Toro is a glorious mess, the tale of a hapless quest. Outside

A brilliant performance: the making of a book that never existed by an author who is his imaginary double. The hilarious novel brings into into collision the old school of the great comedians of the New Yorker (Perelman, Benchley, etc..) and the very modern gonzo journalism. Le Figaro (France)

 A saving grace for the literary world. Standard (France)

 A literary entertainment as produced only by novelists conscious of the capacity of words. Mark Sundeen is gifted. He writes lines with the teeth of a saw, full of spice, madly enjoyable. Sud Ouest (France)

He depicts a circuitous problem for any emerging U.S. author aspiring to the life of Hemingway or Jon Krakauer. It’s impossible, misguided or, at any rate, imperialistic. There they are, increasingly loathed for their nation’s global agenda, seeking adventure that might fuel their contributions to the culture, only to be confronted (and disappointed) by their own cultural dominance. A wry lament for the kind of honest, authentically American experience that just “isn’t good enough for books” any more. Toronto Globe and Mail

A wonderful, sarcastic take on the concept of author as artist. What an imagination, and what an ego for his author-protagonist! What a riot! Library Journal (starred)

With each misguided attempt to find bullfighting’s heart and soul, LaFrance uses a quixotic idealism to convert reality (e.g., an undercooked drumstick served in a dingy corner diner) to what could be (an exotic delicacy, served only to the most esteemed of guests). It’s a skewed travelogue, in which the line between a gritty reality and a chimerical fantasy is warmly blurred. Publishers Weekly

bizarre chronicle of the author’s failed attempts to write the book we are, in fact, reading. There is an absurd postmodern slant to all of this, shades of the film Adaptation, or maybe it’s just that, as Sundeen reasons, every blockbuster needs a making-of documentary. Either way, it’s funny, surreal, and thoroughly one-of-a-kind, an exciting adventure about a grand misadventure. Booklist