Lord Fear A memoir

Lucas Mann

Book - 2015

"Lucas Mann's stepbrother Josh died of a heroin overdose when Lucas was only thirteen years old. Charismatic, ambitious, cruel and sadistic, violent and vulnerable, possibly schizophrenic, Josh's brief life was ultimately unknowable. Yet, Josh is both a presence and absence in the author's life that will not remain unclaimed. Told in kaleidoscopic shards of memories assembled from interviews with Josh's friends and family and the raw material of the Josh's own journ...als, a revealing, startling portrait unfolds. At the same time, Mann pulls back to question and examine his own complicated feelings about and motives for recovering memories of his brother's life, searching for a balance between the tension of the inevitability of Josh's life and the 'what-ifs' that beg to be asked"--

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Subjects
Published
New York : Pantheon Books [2015]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
222 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781101870242
1101870249
Main Author
Lucas Mann (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Mann spent nearly 10 years ferreting out this picture of his older half brother, Josh, dead of a drug overdose. Mann was much younger than his blustery, angry brother. The actions that seemed incomprehensible and abnormal to the adults in their lives are seen by the younger Mann as sometimes admirable or brave or normal but scary. Thus, amid the terror found in this book are also moments of joy. Helping Mann uncover the story of his brother's short life are his parents, his friends, his other half brother, and strangers (though friends to Josh). They feed him images he mulls over—his brother making music or being tender or gaining weight. The writing here is hesitant and questioning as Mann aims to be true to both his young self and his current self. Even so, the puzzle of the brother remains in pieces. "What can this story be but fragments? Lies?" The pages here are spiked with brother Josh's work: journal entries, poems, odes to determination that went nowhere. Lord Fear treads carefully, but the shards on this path are ever painful. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

In the hands of New York author and writing teacher Mann (Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere), a chronicle of his older brother's life before it ended in a heroin overdose becomes a suspenseful, if stilted, character study. Mann both adored and feared his older half-brother, Josh, who died at age 28 when the author was 13. Josh was handsome and brilliant, a bodybuilder, a charming ladies' man, and a sadist to those he loved—his mother, his brothers, his girlfriends. By interviewing the people Josh loved and was closest to, author Mann builds the story of his brother's life through narrative reconstruction—a creative nonfiction—for a fluid account that never allows the reader to be moved. The younger brother is hungry to learn about Josh's transgressions as a way to both remember his brother and gain a kind of self-knowledge. On the one hand, his brother provided a model of manhood as a sexual being, a free spirit, and an artist; yet on the other hand, Josh was fragile and spoiled, gripped by inexplicable anxiety ("lord fear"), given to humiliate people, fond of a terrifying pet boa constrictor, and submerged in debilitating drug use in his 20s. Mann's references to the writing of Nabokov, Philip Roth, Roland Barthes, and Virginia Woolf on memory and loss lend the work an elegiac tone, but all the feeling here is cold and hard. (May) [Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Using interviews with family and friends and journal pages, the author recreates the life of his charismatic stepbrother, Josh Mann, who died of a heroin overdose and examines the role and limitations of memory in trying to recall the past.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"From the author of the widely praised Class A--a memoir that investigates the life and death of his enigmatic stepbrother, who died of a heroin overdose, and compels him to redefine his own place in a family whose narrative is bisected by the tragic loss. Lucas Mann's stepbrother, Josh, died of a heroin overdose when Lucas was only thirteen years old. Charismatic, ambitious, cruel and sadistic, violent and vulnerable, possibly schizophrenic, Josh's brief life was ultimately unknowable. Yet, Josh is botha presence and absence in the author's life that will not remain unclaimed. Told in kaleidoscopic shards of memories assembled from interviews with Josh's friends and family and the raw material of the Josh's own journals, a revealing, startling portraitunfolds. At the same time, Mann pulls back to question and examine his own complicated feelings about and motives for recovering memories of his brother's life, searching for a balance between the tension of the inevitability of Josh's life and the 'what-ifs' that beg to be asked. Unstinting in its honesty and profound in its conclusions, Lord Fear more than confirms the promise of Mann's earlier book; with it, he is poised to enter the ranks of the best young writers of his generation"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The author of Class A investigates the life and death of his enigmatic brother, a victim of heroin overdose whose brief and violent existence has left an indelible shadow over their family.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Lucas Mann was only thirteen years old when his brother Josh—charismatic and ambitious, funny and sadistic, violent and vulnerable—died of a heroin overdose. Although his brief life is ultimately unknowable, Josh is both a presence and an absence in the author’s life that will not remain unclaimed. As Josh’s story is told in kaleidoscopic shards of memories assembled from interviews with his friends and family, as well as from the raw material of his journals, a revealing, startling portrait unfolds. At the same time, Mann pulls back to examine his own complicated feelings and motives for recovering memories of his brother’s life, searching for a balance between the tension of inevitability and the what ifs that beg to be asked. Through his investigation, Mann also comes to redefine his own place in a family whose narrative is bisected by the tragic loss.Unstinting in its honesty, captivating in its form, and profound in its conclusions,Lord Fear more than confirms the promise of Mann’s earlier book, Class A; with it, he is poised to enter the ranks of the best young writers of his generation.