Kun, Michael 1962-

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Kun, Michael 1962-

(Michael Stuart Kun)

PERSONAL: Born November 28, 1962, in Hempstead, NY; son of Richard (in sales) and Beatrice (a homemaker; maiden name, Degrotta) Kun. Education: Johns Hopkins University, B.A., 1984; University of Virginia, J.D., 1988. Religion: Catholic.

ADDRESSES: Home—13214 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292. Office—Piper & Marbury, 36 S. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21201. Agent—Bond Literary Agency, 1401 E. Girard Pl., Ste. 3-260, Englewood, CO 80113. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Piper & Marbury, Baltimore, MD, attorney, 1988–1994; Jackson Lewis (law firm), 1994–; writer.

WRITINGS:

A Thousand Benjamins, Atlantic Monthly Press (New York, NY), 1990.

The Locklear Letters: A Novel, MacAdam/Cage Publishing (San Francisco, CA), 2003.

My Wife and My Dead Wife: A Novel, MacAdam/Cage Publishing (San Francisco, CA), 2004.

You Poor Monster; or, This Should Answer Your Questions, My Son, MacAdam/Cage Publishing (San Francisco, CA), 2005.

(With Howard Bloom) The Baseball Uncyclopedia: A Highly-Opinionated, Myth-Busting Guide to the Great American Game, Emmis Books (Cincinnati, OH), 2006.

Contributor of short stories to periodicals, including Fiction, Story Quarterly, Other Voices, and Cottonwood.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A short story collection titled Corrections to My Memoirs, expected in 2007, and a novel with Mark Dunn tentatively titled Teddy Roosevelt Is Killing Me.

SIDELIGHTS: Michael Kun's first novel, A Thousand Benjamins, traces via flashbacks a man's struggle to overcome his own sadness. Tormented by the sudden deaths of both parents when he was seventeen, forty-one-year-old protagonist Benjamin Sacks must face the departure of his wife of twenty years, who can no longer cope with his despondency. Soon after, he meets Kim, a cheerful young waitress with a thick scar on her chest, the result of open heart surgery. The new couple travels from Maryland to Nebraska to visit Benjamin's younger brother, Phinney, institutionalized as a result of a breakdown over the family tragedy, and the three resolve to begin life anew in Baltimore. Frequently compared with American writer J.D. Salinger, Kun has earned praise for his powerful narrative voice, vivid characterizations, and keen insights into human nature. In the Los Angeles Times Book Review, one critic called A Thousand Benjamins "a novel of the walking wounded."

After receiving much critical acclaim for his debut novel, Kun's thirteen-year absence from the literary world confused many and led to some greatly exaggerated rumors of his death. However, the publication of his 2003 book, The Locklear Letters: A Novel, cleared up these misconceptions. The novel tells the story of Sid Straw, an ordinary man who begins writing letters to his now famous college classmate, Heather Locklear. The letters earn Sid a cross-country restraining order and cost him his girlfriend and his job, but they also lead the object of his affection to make an appearance at Sid's college reunion. One Publishers Weekly contributor pointed out that "Kun's lighthearted humor pokes clever fun" at America's obsession with celebrities.

My Wife and My Dead Wife: A Novel, published in 2004, tells the story of a man whose girlfriend is taking advantage of him; she aspires to be a country singer and has taken to referring to herself as his wife. Overburdened by the financial obligations brought on by his girlfriend's ambitions, Hamilton "Ham" Ashe recalls his similarly doomed relationship with his exwife. In the Library Journal, Christine DeZelar-Tiedman commented on the novel's "clever prose and running gags." Kun's 2005 publication, You Poor Monster; or, This Should Answer Your Questions, My Son, features a second, separate character named Hamilton "Ham" Ashe. This Ashe is a lawyer dealing with the divorce case of his strange next-door neighbor, whose stories of accomplishment—which place him as everything from an award-winning author to a college football star—become increasingly farfetched. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews described the book as "a refreshingly humane comedy about the lies people tell themselves."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 2005, Joanne Wilkinson, review of You Poor Monster; or, This Should Answer Your Questions, My Son, p. 1637.

Entertainment Weekly, June 3, 2005, Jennifer Reese, review of You Poor Monster, p. 90.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2003, review of The Locklear Letters: A Novel, p. 632; May 1, 2004, review of My Wife and My Dead Wife: A Novel, p. 417; April 15, 2005, review of You Poor Monster, p. 440.

Library Journal, June 15, 2005, Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, review of My Wife and My Dead Wife, p. 59.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, July 22, 1990, review of A Thousand Benjamins.

Publishers Weekly, March 2, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of A Thousand Benjamins, p. 72; May 19, 2003, review of The Locklear Letters, p. 52; May 17, 2004, review of My Wife and My Dead Wife, p. 35; May 9, 2005, review of You Poor Monster, p. 90.

ONLINE

Bookslut, http://www.bookslut.com/ (August 2003), Liz Miller, review of The Locklear Letters.

Curled Up with a Good Book, http://www.curledup.com/ (June 2004), Luan Gaines, review of My Wife and My Dead Wife; (June 2005), Luan Gaines, review of You Poor Monster.

Michael Kun Home Page, http://www.michaelkun.com (March 20, 2006).

PopMatters, http://www.popmatters.com/ (October 25, 2005), Daulton Dickey, "Lying Liars and the Lawyers Who Love Them: An Interview with Michael Kun."