Mark Slouka

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Mark Slouka is an American novelist and essayist. The son of Czech immigrants,[1] he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005. He is a frequent contributor to Harper's Magazine.

His 2013 novel Brewster was called "instantly mesmerizing" by Pulitzer Prize-winner Jennifer Egan.[2]

The subject matter of his 1996 book War of the Worlds: Cyberspace and the Assault on Reality encompasses the extent to which virtual reality and blurring of real life with corporate fantasy has become a "genuine cultural phenomenon".[3]

In 2003, his first novel God's Fool fictionalised the life of Siamese twins, Chang and Eng.[4] and his 2006 short story "Dominion", originally published in TriQuarterly, was included within the anthology Best American Short Stories 2006. His short story "The Hare's Mask," originally published in Harper's, was included in the anthology The Best American Short Stories 2011.

An essay of his entitled "Listening for Silence: Notes on the Aural Life" appeared in the 2004 anthology Audio Cultures. In this essay, Slouka inputs concepts and questions that pose a philosophical debate as to what silence is. Can silence really exist, or is it just what people decide to ignore that makes silence? Although people take notice of the visual landscape of our world, the change in aural landscape goes by seemingly unnoticed. Slouka views death as silence and, in some regards, it is because a human lacks the ability to hear any longer. Fear of silence is what creates the drive for noise and music. Slouka even says "fear forces our hand, inspires us, makes visible the things we love." Silence is an entity that brings out curiosity and there are other ways of describing it. Mainly, Slouka's contribution to the book made for some contrasting ideologies between musicians and authors such as Mark Slouka.

In his book Essays from the Nick of Time, Slouka argues that "The humanities are a superb delivery mechanism for what we might call democratic values" [5] In one of the essays, "Quitting the Paint Factory," he states, "Idleness is ... requisite to the construction of a complete human being;... allowing us time to figure out who we are, and what we believe; by allowing us time to consider what is unjust, and what we might do about it."

His second novel, The Visible World, tells the story of a son uncovering his flawed parents' earlier life in the Czech resistance.[6] It gained notability in the UK following its inclusion in the 2008 Richard & Judy Book Club list.

In 2011, Slouka received the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay for Essays from the Nick of Time.[7]


Year Title Publisher
2016 Nobody's Son: A Memoir W. W. Norton & Company
2013 Brewster: A Novel W. W. Norton & Company
2010 Essays from the Nick of Time: Reflections and Refutations Graywolf Press
2007 The Visible World: A Novel Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
2002 God's Fool: A Novel Alfred A. Knopf
1998 Lost Lake: Stories Alfred A. Knopf
1995 War of the Worlds: Cyberspace and the High-tech Assault on Reality Basic Books


  1. ^ Ferrier, Morwenna. Review: BOOKS: The Visible World Mark, The Observer, 8th July 2007
  2. ^
  3. ^ Slouka, Mark: The illusion of life is bought dearly, New Statesman, 12th January 1996
  4. ^ Dillon, Cathy, God's Fool Irish Times 13th September 2003
  5. ^ Heitman, Danny. How can Obama save our economy and our democracy? Humanities education The Christian Science Monitor 18 February 2011
  6. ^ Ferrier, Morwenna. Review: BOOKS: WAR: The Visible World, The Observer 8th July 2007
  7. ^ [1], "PEN American Center", 2011

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