Mallby Published 17 Nov 2019
Mall Ebook Description
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Penzler Pick, January 2001: Here Eric Bogosian, a playwright and actor, takes his keen eye to that particularly American venue, the mall. On any given day, the mall attracts hundreds of thousands of diverse characters who are not always there to shop. On this particular night, Bogosian concentrates on five of those characters, suburbanites who interact with each other in ways that are, for the most part, destructive.
Michel is an Haitian immigrant who works as a security guard at the mall. He's been there all evening and he spends his time thinking about his wife who died tragically. He misses her, but he will be forced to put all thoughts of her away as he becomes the first to deal with the horrendous events that start to unfold around closing time.
Jeff is a teenager who hooks up with his friends and drops acid. He wonders if Adelle likes him. She seems to, but she also seems to like his friend Beckett. Jeff's trip will get more surreal as the night progresses and will take him places he's never been before.
Donna is married with a son, but it doesn't seem to be enough. She is at the mall looking for romance and a little adventure. She'll find both.
Danny is a young businessman whose fetish for young women modeling underwear takes him to the women's dressing room at J.C. Penney. There he will find his own private nightmare.
And affecting them all is Mal. Mal is a speed freak who, before setting off for the mall with a car full of weapons, murders his mother and sets fire to his house. He is looking forward to an evening of more murder and mayhem.
This story moves along at the speed of an express train, one that isn't going quite where you thought it was. Bogosian has created a night that will not be easy to forget. --Otto Penzler
Found this book in the parking lot at Joaquin Miller Park. Needed a quick and (literally) light book to take on a backpack trip.
The book tells the stories of five people who experience a series of difficult events in and around a suburban mall. Characters overlap, but only one connects with all of the core characters. The book strives to make a lot of social commentary about the suburban way of life. However, the characters remain character types pushed through a story rather than characters interacting and actively affecting a chain of events. It would have taken a lot more pages to draw the actual characters out, but I don't think this story would have benefited from more pages.
Writing was fine, but seemed to try hard to shock at times. Basically, it was okay for a short, quick read that I didn't have to give a lot of my brain space. The end is better than I expected because the author leaves room for the reader to tease out what might happen next.
Bogosian, Eric. Mall (2000) ***
A grunge movie in the making
Alienation, frustration, self-loathing and other afflictions of the mall crowd are celebrated here in a kind of David Lynch/Quentin Tarantino movie made into a novel. Well, actually, what wordsmith and cultural shock artist Eric Bogosian, who indeed does weld a mean pen, has in mind is something the other way around. His novel first, a six-figure option next, and then the screen play (at ten grand per week), and finally an exploitive cinematic production for the grunge crowd.
He has served up, for our delectation, the following characters:
MAL, short for Malcolm, a kind of fat boy urban soldier of fortune on speed, who pops mom one (or two actually) in the head with his .22 before setting off for the mall with his real arsenal for further fun and games.
DONNA, a pleasingly plump bored housewife who has a gargantuan appetite for all things food and a whole bunch of things sex, the kind of extreme darling that empties a half gallon of ice cream while watching the first ten minutes of Jerry Springer. She wanders over to the mall to try on some threads and provide a peep show for
DANNY, a sexually confused, uptight yuppie who hasn't been in marital bliss for awhile--actually he hasn't been in marital bliss for so long that his doctor recommends...well, Amazon.com has a taboo against what he recommends, but perhaps you can guess.
JEFF, a counter-cultural mall groupie on an acid trip who's read Steppenwolf (the book, not the band, duh) and imagines he will be a great writer some day, but right now he hasn't the time to actually DO any writing since he is finding himself and pursuing his need to hang with
ADELLE, a sweet young underprivileged thing with the pure heart of a sadist who shows DANNY what it's like to feel helpless in handcuffs.
The plot revolves around the central deed, performed by MAL just so he can REALLY FEEL ALIVE. All the characters are like spokes in the wheel to this center that leads to the mall. The prose is sound-bite smart and the chapters are short. Bogosian's average word length is little more than four letters, while the pages practically turn themselves.
It would seem that there is little redemption here, but it all depends on who's doing the reading. Bogosian does serve up some adolescent Zen-like philosophy that is sure to please any thirteen-year-old. In fact, since I feel compelled to pan this opus, it will undoubtedly become a cult classic and the defining novel of a generation.
Well, maybe not. Anyway, JEFF is the character Bogosian identifies with and he gets all the philosophic lines. For example:
"What difference does it make if I think or I don't think? We're just these bags of flesh with sensors designed to make us think we're so precious." (p. 150)
"This is a place I cannot escape--myself. I cannot escape myself...I am locked into this moment, this self, this place forever. How did I get here? Why here and not someplace else?" (p. 199)
"Jeff was infected with a brain disease that forced him to try to make sense of his life." (p. 244)
Bottom line: this is an X-rated novel for young urban…philosophers.
--a review by Dennis Littrell
Best thing about the book: THE SHORT CHAPTERS!!! I love short chapters. It makes reading a book so much easier! Anyway, about the actual story now. Loved it! The mix of different characters was fantastic and all the added elements such as murder, sex, drugs... Highly recommended!
I read so many books, it's unusual these days for me to find one I absolutely cannot put down. Add playwright/actor/author Eric Bogosian's book Mall to that short list.
Eric Bogosian? Does the name ring a bell? Think Captian Ross from Law & Order: Criminal Intent... Yeh, same guy!
I can't put my finger on exactly why this book grabbed me, but for the two days it took me to read it, I felt like I was on a wild ride. Bogosian sets up the action with intriguing characters: a rapidly degrading meth junkie, an existential teenage delinquent, a bored sexy housewife, a Haitian immigrant mall security guard, and a fairly normal young businessman with a tame taste for catalog models.
The book opens with Mal, a speed freak, who murders his mother, loads up a trunkful of guns, sets fire to his house, and heads for the mall. It just gets weirder and darker from there. Bogosian's writing is crisp, detailed, and dark. He skews the focus on regular American suburban life, showing how easily the balance can be upset.
The book has a Pulp Fiction texture, with dark humor, sex, graphic violence, and chance meetings, yet the in-your-face style reminds me of Douglas Copeland's book, Generation X. The chapters are short, choppy views into the characters' lives, and while I found following the action a little confusing at first, things soon fell into place.
The action is quick-paced, the characters convincing, and the story disturbing. If you're looking for a light read, pass this one up; if you're looking for something bordering on literary and really gritty, I recommend Mall.
A disturbing trip through the mind of a psychopath and his victims. I enjoyed the crisp writing of Bogosian and the gritty reality of his suburban landscape. The most difficult part of the book for me was the cast of characters. I didn't find myself liking any of them. That may have been Bogosian's point, though.