Carson, Tom 1956-

views updated

CARSON, Tom 1956-


Born May 23, 1956, in Frankfurt, Germany; son of James (a diplomat) and Virginia (a diplomat; maiden name, Young) Carson; married Arion Berger (a writer), December 3, 1988. Education: Princeton University, B.A., 1977.


Agent—Gary Morris, David Black Agency, 156 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.


Journalist and author. Los Angeles Weekly, Los Angeles, CA, staff writer, 1988-93; Village Voice, New York, NY, staff writer, 1994-99; Esquire, New York, NY, author of column "Screen," 1999—; freelance writer.


Atlantic Monthly writing scholarship, 1973; Samual Shellabarger Award, Princeton University, 1977, for Esquire column; National Magazine Award for Criticism, American Society of Magazine Editors, 2000.


Twisted Kicks, Entwhistle Press (Glen Ellen, CA), 1981.

(Editor with Kit Rachlis and Jeff Salamon) Don't Stop Till You Get Enough: Essays in Honor of Robert Christgau, 2002.

Gilligan's Wake, Picador (New York, NY), 2003.

Contributor to anthologies, including Stranded, 1979, and Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll, 1981. Contributor to periodicals, including Rolling Stone and Boston Phoenix.


A novel.


Journalist and novelist Tom Carson is a television critic for Esquire magazine and, as a writer for Publishers Weekly maintained, serves as "a consistently intelligent voice brought to bear on a medium in sore need of astute criticism."

Carson's 2003 novel Gilligan's Wake is a cross between James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake and the popular television sitcom series Gilligan's Island. Told in seven chapters, each one featuring a character from the television show, the reader learns of the hidden biographies of the Gilligan's Island cast, including the lesbian love affair between "Lovey" Howell and Daisy Buchanan of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and Mary-Ann's affair with someone who may be Jean-Luc Goddard. The novel also features such real-life figures as John Kennedy—who served in the U.S. Navy alongside both the Skipper and McHale—and Sammy Davis, Jr., a lover of the vivacious Ginger. Fans of classic television will recognize many of the other characters, including those with such inventively hybrid names as Dr. Kildare F. Troop, as well as the settings: Gilligan is lodged in the Cleaver Ward of a mental hospital, for example. According to David Kelly in the New York Times, Carson's "pastiche of a novel is not compelling, intriguing or even nuanced, but a lot of it is very funny and has a trashy exuberance." Roger K. Miller in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch praised the novel's "inspired lunacy" and called Gilligan's Wake a "captivating romp." "Watching reruns of Gilligan's Island," Josh Cohen admitted in his review for the Library Journal, "will never be the same again."



Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January 19, 2003, Phil Kloer, review of Gilligan's Wake, p. Q5.

Book, January-February, 2003, Don McLeese, review of Gilligan's Wake, p. 74.

Booklist, December 15, 2002, Brendan Driscoll, review of Gilligan's Wake, p. 731.

Entertainment Weekly, January 3, 2003, Troy Patterson, review of Gilligan's Wake, p. 67.

Esquire, February, 2003, review of Gilligan's Wake, p. 37.

Fortune, January 20, 2003, Erik Torkells, review of Gilligan's Wake, p. 186.

Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), March 8, 2003, Jason Anderson, review of Gilligan's Wake.

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2002, review of Gilligan's Wake, p. 1637.

Library Journal, December 2002, Josh Cohen, review of Gilligan's Wake, p. 176.

New York Times, January 26, 2003, David Kelly, "The Minnow Found Again," p. 7.

Publishers Weekly, November 18, 2002, review of Gilligan's Wake, p. 43.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 26, 2003, Roger K. Miller, review of Gilligan's Wake, p. F8.

School Library Journal, July, 2003, Ted Westervelt, review of Gilligan's Wake, p. 152.

About this article

Carson, Tom 1956-

Updated About content Print Article