Bojanowski, Marc 1977(?)-
BOJANOWSKI, Marc 1977(?)-
PERSONAL: Born c. 1977, in Healdsburg, CA. Education: Graduate of University of California, Berkeley; New School University, M.F.A.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd St., 7th Fl., New York, NY 10022.
The Dog Fighter, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to periodicals, including Literary Review.
SIDELIGHTS: Mark Bojanowski's debut novel, The Dog Fighter, is set in the 1940s. The unnamed narrator is a strong, handsome man of Spanish and Mexican descent who is moved by the macho legends told to him by his grandfather since childhood. The brutal young boy grows up to kill the husband of his lover, but escapes real punishment to become a laborer on a construction crew in the town of Cancion in Baja. The lovely port town is being transformed to accommodate the wealthy Americans who will replace the poor on the sandy beaches and turn the local population into servants.
The narrator becomes a dog fighter, wearing carpet wrapped around his arm and a claw over his hand. He fights to the death dogs whose teeth have been ground to needle sharpness, and always lives to continue the story. He falls in love with a woman who comes to the fights with Cantana, the real estate developer who runs the town. Another central character is a toothless poet who writes letters home for the illiterate workers and who befriends the fighter and teaches him English. The text reflects the dilemma of the narrator, who can not always come up with the English word he is searching for and uses Spanish instead. Bojanowski uses short sentences and periods where one might expect commas.
The Dog Fighter is a coming-of-age story, a nihilistic tome on the nature of violence, and a reflection on the politics of wealth and poverty. The story really begins to unwind in the second third of the book, according to some reviewers; San Francisco Chronicle contributor Oscar Villalon called the novel "a tidy piece of noir, full of lovely ironies." Los Angeles Times reviewer Bettijane Levine called it "a simply told fable of love, hate, greed, good, and evil—all grinding against each other like tectonic plates."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2004, Joanne Wilkinson, review of The Dog Fighter, p. 1596.
Interview, June, 2004, Richard Dorment, interview with Bojanowski, p. 34.
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2004, review of The DogFighter, p. 236.
Library Journal, April 15, 2004, David A. Berona, review of The Dog Fighter, p. 122.
Los Angeles Times, June 15, 2004, Bettijane Levine, review of The Dog Fighter, p. E1.
Publishers Weekly, April 26, 2004, review of The DogFighter, p. 39; May 31, 2004, Bridget Kinsella, "Novel Is Disturbing, but Booksellers Are Biting," p. 24.
San Francisco Chronicle, August 22, 2004, Oscar Villalon, review of The Dog Fighter, p. M6.
Washington Post Book World, June 15, 2004, Chris Lehmann, review of The Dog Fighter, p. C4.
LAWeekly.com,http://www.laweekly.com/ (May 28, 2004), Scott Brown, review of The Dog Fighter.*