When Mark Polanzak was seventeen, his father spontaneously combusted on the tennis court, vanishing forever.
It is also entirely possible that he died of a heart attack.
Either way, his father’s death is a story Polanzak spends much of his life trying to get right. POP! captures the absurdity and authenticity of the grieving process with grace and humor.
Mark Polanzak teaches English at the Berklee College of Music and is a founding editor of draft: the journal of process. He was a runner-up for the 2014 Italo Calvino Prize for fabulist fiction, and his stories have appeared in Third Coast, The Southern Review, and The American Scholar. He received his MFA from the University of Arizona.
Lucas Mann was only thirteen years old when his brother Josh charismatic and ambitious, funny and sadistic, violent and vulnerable died of a heroin overdose. Although his brief life is ultimately unknowable, Josh is both a presence and an absence in the author's life that will not remain unclaimed. As Josh's story is told in kaleidoscopic shards of memories assembled from interviews with his friends and family, as well as from the raw material of his journals, a revealing, startling portrait unfolds. At the same time, Mann pulls back to examine his own complicated feelings and motives for recovering memories of his brother's life, searching for a balance between the tension of inevitability and the what ifs that beg to be asked. Through his investigation, Mann also comes to redefine his own place in a family whose narrative is bisected by the tragic loss.
Unstinting in its honesty, captivating in its form, and profound in its conclusions, Lord Fear more than confirms the promise of Mann's earlier book, Class A; with it, he is poised to enter the ranks of the best young writers of his generation.
Lucas Mann was born in New York City and received his MFA from the University of Iowa, where he was the Provost’s Visiting Writer in Nonfiction.