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Mall: A Novel Hardcover – November 8, 2000

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Editorial Reviews Review

Penzler Pick, January 2001: Here Eric Bogosian, a playwright and actor, takes his keen eye to that particularly American venue, the mall. On any given day, the mall attracts hundreds of thousands of diverse characters who are not always there to shop. On this particular night, Bogosian concentrates on five of those characters, suburbanites who interact with each other in ways that are, for the most part, destructive.

Michel is an Haitian immigrant who works as a security guard at the mall. He's been there all evening and he spends his time thinking about his wife who died tragically. He misses her, but he will be forced to put all thoughts of her away as he becomes the first to deal with the horrendous events that start to unfold around closing time.

Jeff is a teenager who hooks up with his friends and drops acid. He wonders if Adelle likes him. She seems to, but she also seems to like his friend Beckett. Jeff's trip will get more surreal as the night progresses and will take him places he's never been before.

Donna is married with a son, but it doesn't seem to be enough. She is at the mall looking for romance and a little adventure. She'll find both.

Danny is a young businessman whose fetish for young women modeling underwear takes him to the women's dressing room at J.C. Penney. There he will find his own private nightmare.

And affecting them all is Mal. Mal is a speed freak who, before setting off for the mall with a car full of weapons, murders his mother and sets fire to his house. He is looking forward to an evening of more murder and mayhem.

This story moves along at the speed of an express train, one that isn't going quite where you thought it was. Bogosian has created a night that will not be easy to forget. --Otto Penzler

From Publishers Weekly

A faithful exegete of suburban nihilism, playwright and solo performer Bogosian delivers for his first novel a surreal "day in the life" tale that explores two of his trademark themes: suburban life and the illusory nature of "normalcy." Mal is a 30-something speed freak living with his mother in a drugged out fog, unwashed and virtually unconscious. After 90 days on crystal meth, Mal kills his mom, then goes on a rampage at the nearby mall. Bogosian uses this event to introduce a cross-section of mall life. Jeffrey, a dreadlocked teen, fantasizes about being a writer. He's got a crush on Adelle, whose narcissistic ennui he attributes to "a kind of efficiency. She's full of life but she's saving herself for the right moment...." His friend Berkeley has scored some retro windowpane acid, and so Jeff experiences Mal's fiery incursion in a hallucinatory state. Businessman Danny is a hapless, though hardly innocent, shopper at the mall, who spots Donna, an exhibitionist, sex-starved housewife performing a kinky striptease in a half-open dressing room. The police catch Danny peeping and arrest him, but then Mal, now shooting indiscriminately in the mall, pegs the cops, and Danny is left to wander around in handcuffs, which is how he runs into Adelle, who takes Danny on a sexy ride he may never recover from. While Bogosian's teen characters seem a little bit like rejects from a To Die For casting call, his droll remarks and dramatic pacing make this debut novel a typically Bogosian experienceDlively and unique. If this absurdist La Ronde sometimes goes over the edge, Bogosian's stature in contemporary pop culture, and his proven ability to work (and self-publicize) in numerous media, should give his novel legs. Agents, Claudia Cross, George Lane.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (November 8, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684857278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684857275
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,097,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Eric Bogosian is best known as a playwright, novelist and actor. He wrote and starred in the play, "Talk Radio" (NYSF - 1987; on Broadway starring Liev Schreiber- 2007), for which he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and the Tony award. For his film adaptation of the play, Bogosian received the Berlin Film Festival "Silver Bear." His six solo performances Off-Broadway between 1980 and 2000, (including "Drinking in America", "Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll" and "Wake Up and Smell the Coffee") received three Obie awards. In addition to "Talk Radio", Bogosian has written a number of full-length plays including "subUrbia" (LCT, Second Stage, also adapted to film), "Griller" (Goodman), "Red Angel" (Williamstown Theater Festival), "Humpty Dumpty" (The McCarter), 1+1 (New York Stage and Film). He is also the author of three novels, "Mall", "Wasted Beauty" and "Perforated Heart" and a novella, "Notes from Underground." He is a Guggenheim fellow.

As an actor, Bogosian has appeared in numerous films and television programs, starring in Robert Altman's "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial", Oliver Stone's "Talk Radio", as Travis Dane in "Under Siege II", as Eddie Nash in "Wonderland" and as Captain Danny Ross in sixty episodes of "Law & Order:CI." In 2010, he starred on Broadway in "Time Stands Still" with Laura Linney, Brian Darcy James and Alicia Silverstone/Christina Ricci. Most recently he appears as a recurring character, Nelson Dubeck, on "The Good Wife."

In April 2014, Theater Communications Group will publish the full collection of Bogosian's monologues, titled "100 (monologues)." Go to to see members of the New York acting community performing the monologues.

Bogosian lives in New York with his wife, director Jo Bonney. He is currently completing a non-fiction book documenting "Operation Nemesis", a conspiracy that targeted and assassinated Turkish leaders responsible for the Armenian genocide. (To be published by Little, Brown January 2015)

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Michael Hutchinson on November 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
What initially piqued my interest in this book were the reviews written on the back cover by other published authors that promised action and intensity. While I found both of these elements in the plot, I felt somewhat cheated by the author's choppy writing style. Each time a new character is introduced, or a new scene takes place, Bogosian leads the reader to the edge of the cliff, and then...ends the chapter. He makes it difficult to really become engrossed in the characters or their surroundings. While this style is likely used (effectively, by the way) by the author to keep the reader reading, and to create the "couldn't put it down" effect, it leaves the reader with an uneasy, insatiated feeling.
Another disappointment was the superficiality with which the author touched on the narcotics underworld. While I credit the author for having what seems to be more than just a textbook knowledge of the substances used by his characters, I found myself hoping he would dramatize this abusive element of his characters' behavior more so than he did.
In an apparent attempt to voice a commentary on the state of affairs in Sububia, USA, he fails to include his thesis. Too many times, the characters question things without ever really resolving anything. Further, the points that were made clear, were trite and boring, and already hashed out in many a "session" in college dorms across the country.
Ultimately, I think a reccomendation on this book all depends on the reccomendee. Adolescents and young twentysomethings struggling to find their identity might find this book entertaining, but I would advise against it for the sophisticated adult reader.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael Punsalan on February 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
With an overdose of fast-paced energy and killer verocity, Eric Bogosian's new book, MALL, takes it's readers into a whirlpool of non-stop, thought-provoking, well done suspense. While Bogosian keeps the reader engorged with powerful social and cultural rhetoric; humorous AND anxiety-prone passages are strung throughout the chapters-keeping the reader "laughing out loud" while remaining fearful of "what happens next."
Bogosian utilizes a technique of well-crafted parallel story-telling, thus allowing the reader to experience the story through six different characters almost simultaneously, WITHOUT reducing the tension from chapter to chapter. Wrapping the story in circles intertwines the six characters live's in humorous, and often unsuspecting ways.
Although critics of this book might argue the lack of character development, I would wholeheartedly disagree. Given the literary constraints on writing a book of this style and format, Bogosian gives adequate character development considering the rapidly moving rising action of the plot. With too much "Stephen King-style character development", the book Mall would lack the tension that Bogosian illustrates in short development. Bogosian follows his old style of "play writing" in creating a story that jumps to the action....leaving the reader "sitting on the edge of their seat."
Once again, Bogosian drops several socially satirical comments and passages throughout the book, hoping to spark a socially rhetorical thought. Much like his earlier works, Bogosian taps a human nerve that unleash disguised sentiments of a disgusted American culture.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alexander T. Newport on July 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
Bogosian is creepy, smart, rebellious and brilliant. I truly enjoyed watching the video of his one-man show Funhouse. Also enjoyed reading Pounding Nails In The Floor With My Forehead, and Notes From Underground. He is a very, very good writer. You can tell that he hones his material. He is the type of writer who works very hard on making each sentence run smoothly & quickly.

This book, Mall, is not meant to be anything other than a fast paced action-adventure. It's just a bit of fun and a means for Bogosian to express various aspects of his personality. He realizes that this mortal world---especially the American part of it---is a totally misleading, misinforming, two-faced, selfish-minded sham full of lies, disappointments and quiet desperation. The result of this realization is cynicism & rage and therefore much of Bogosian's work expresses the darker aspects of his personality---and thank goodness! But don't get me wrong, he is not the least bit heavy-handed regarding his anger and sick, twisted fantasies. He knows how to make a point without going over the top.

Mall is an easy-read. It's not meant to be the novel of the century. It's not meant to enlighten anyone. It's just a good old fashioned action-adventure about a speedfreak who goes on a killing spree. It reads like it was written with the intention of making it ready-made for conversion to a screenplay. Is that a crime? Is it a crime that Bogosian wants to make money from his writing? No. He works hard for his money and it shows. So what if he poo-poos shallow materialism while also wanting to become materially successful by doing so? Consistency, or lack of hypocrisy, is the stuff of small-minded, idiotic, know-nothing mortals who have been brainwashed by college.

Bottom line: Mall is a good book.
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