Home—Brooklyn, NY. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Grove Press, Grove-Atlantic, 841 Broadway, 4th Fl., New York, NY 10003.
Video game producer and fiction writer.
New Yorker Debut Fiction Writer Honor, 2001.
Gigantic: Stories, Grove Press (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor to periodicals, including the New Yorker and Harper's.
Marc Nesbitt's debut collection of short fiction, Gigantic: Stories, is an offbeat collection of ten tales, each narrated by a young black male and all focusing on sometimes boring, sometimes amusing, but always out of control lives. Bearing such titles as "Man in Towel with Gun" and "Quality Fuel for Electric Living," Nesbitt's tales veer into a landscape of hopelessness, and "suggest a wild, violent reality, moving freely between slapstick and tragedy, calm and calamity," according to Book reviewer Kevin Greenberg. Regarding his fictionalized world view, Nesbitt told Heather Lee Schroeder in the Capital Times Online: "For the most part, people aren't who they say they are, and the more you deal with people, the more you see it. It never ceases to amaze me how badly people treat each other."
Widely praised when his stories first appeared in the pages of the New Yorker and Harper's, some critics were disappointed with Gigantic. Marc Kloszewski, writing in Library Journal, even went so far as to comment that "the average reader will probably be better off reading Nesbitt in those small doses." Kloszewski's reason, he explained, is the "sense of aimlessness, apathy, and confusion, exhibited by Nesbitt's young African American characters." Noting that "all ten narrators sound identical," a Kirkus Reviews critic added: "They usually drink too much, but they seem to do this not out of need but because their author couldn't contrive anything else for them to do." Because of the lack of character development, the critic continued, reader attention "shifts to the style. Nesbitt's style, though often bold and winning, can't carry the whole load" in Gigantic.
Despite such caveats, other critics were highly enthusiastic about Nesbitt's debut. A Publishers Weekly contributor called Gigantic a "clever, raucous debut collection," full of stories that "explore a hard, racially charged world, bitterness and compassion vying for top billing." The reviewer also praised the author for his "idiosyncratic voice, his sharp-tongued observations and his convincing, colloquial dialogue," tools with which he effectively communicates "a unique and arresting worldview." Margaret Wappler, writing in In These Times Online, stated that, "Breaking noses and bruising hearts, this debut short-story collection is as heady as a Charles Bukowski poem and as rowdy as that poet's many barroom brawls, but the stories are never clumsy or banal—just clamorous and passionate. Like the best of jazz improvisers, Nesbitt is almost spazzy in his enthusiasm for the potential of language." And Sam Sifton, writing in the New York Times Book Review, concluded that, "At his best … Nesbitt is smart, dark and funny, like a young Elmore Leonard with a drinking problem."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Book Review, March-April, 2003, J. D. Smith, review of Gigantic: Stories, pp. 38-39.
Book, March-April, 2002, Kevin Greenberg, review of Gigantic, p. 75.
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2001, review of Gigantic, p. 1710.
Library Journal, February 15, 2002, Marc Kloszewski, review of Gigantic, p. 180.
New York Times Book Review, March 31, 2002, Sam Sifton, review of Gigantic, p. 21.
Publishers Weekly, August 21, 2000, John F. Baker, review of Gigantic, p. 20; November 19, 2001, review of Gigantic, p. 45.
Southern Review, summer, 2002, Eric Miles Williamson, review of Gigantic, p. 666.
Capital Times Online,http://www.madison.com/captimes/ (April 5, 2002), Heather Lee Schroeder, review of Gigantic.
In These Times Online,http://www.inthesetimes.com/ (December 2, 2003), Margaret Wappler, review of Gigantic.*