July 28, 2002 |
Reading "Iceland," Jim Krusoe's slim and surreal first novel, is rather like watching a gifted, self-assured magician perform a routine in which the audience's willing-suspension-of-disbelief threshold is constantly being reset higher and higher. It shouldn't work. It can't work: Too many ironclad laws of fiction writing are being casually violated on every page. Then, miraculously, the author pulls it off, and you're left feeling dazzled, even breathless.
November 11, 1997 |
The most modest man in Los Angeles is enduring a modest man's hell. Jim Krusoe's new book, "Blood Lake" (Boaz), spent its first four weeks in print on the Los Angeles Times bestseller list. Krusoe has to give readings. He has to go to parties in his honor. Writers like Martin Amis and Ian McEwan "ring him up" to tell him what a marvel he is. "So, what are you reading?"
October 11, 2009 |
The death of a loved one nearly always leaves us bewildered, mumbling self-assuring axioms to fill the void. In Jim Krusoe's new novel, "Erased" (Tin House: 216 pp., $14.95 paper), that void takes on entirely unexpected dimensions: Theodore "Ted" Bellefontaine's dead mother, Helen, appears to have gone neither to heaven nor to hell, but to Cleveland. Helen is not the ideal mother -- not by any means. After leaving 4-year-old Ted in the care of a foster parent following her husband's death, she spends the majority of her life pursuing her own ends.
November 16, 1989
Thirteen writers, including noted Austrian writer Peter Handke, have contributed short stories and poems to the third edition of the Santa Monica Review, a literary magazine published by Santa Monica College. Jim Krusoe, editor of the review and a professor of English at the college, said the magazine gives new writers the opportunity to appear in a national context. The college prints 1,000 copies of the review, which are available at bookstores around the world, including Shakespeare & Co.
June 1, 2008 |
Frozen-yogurt shop employee Jonathan is oversmart and underemployed, and very early on in the novel "Girl Factory" by Jim Krusoe (Tin House: 196 pp., $14.95 paper) we realize he's also not quite right. After he learns about a hyper-intelligent, military-bred dog at a local shelter, he determines that he will be the one to rescue the animal: "I went back inside to find a jacket, and it was really more as an afterthought than anything that I took along a crowbar, slipping it up my sleeve so as not to alarm anyone."
December 8, 2002 |
It is a pleasure to recommend to readers a clutch of books published in the last year that we found exemplary. Any such list is subjective, even idiosyncratic, of course, since it is impossible to read every worthy book that beckons. We are nonetheless promiscuous readers whose greatest delight is to happen upon a story or subject we had no idea we were interested in but which, in the hands of a gifted and graceful author, proves compelling and unforgettable.