The Making of Toro: Bullfights, Broken Hearts, and One Author's Quest for the Acclaim He Deserves

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Simon and Schuster, Apr 11, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 192 pages
Mark Sundeen needed to stage a comeback. His first book was little read, rarely reviewed, and his book tour was cancelled. So when a careless big city publisher calls with an offer for a book about bullfighting, Mark assumes this is his best and last chance to follow the trajectory of his literary heroes.
To be sure, Sundeen has never been to a bullfight. He doesn't speak Spanish. He's not even a particularly good reporter. Come to think of it, he's probably one of the least qualified people to write a book about bullfighting, even in the best of circumstances. But that doesn't stop Mark Sundeen.
After squandering most of the book advance on back rent and debts, Sundeen can't afford a trip to Spain, so he settles for nearby Mexico. But the bullfighting he finds south of the border is tawdry and comical, and people seem much more interested in the concessions and sideshows. There's little of the passion and artistry and bravery that he'd hoped to employ in exhibiting his literary genius to the masses.
To compensate for his own shortcomings as an author, Sundeen invents an alter ego, Travis LaFrance, a swashbuckling adventure writer, in the tradition of his idol, Ernest Hemingway. But as his research falters, his money runs out, and the deadline approaches, Sundeen's high-minded fantasies are skewered by his second-rate reality. Eventually, Travis LaFrance steps in to take control, and our narrator goes blundering through the landscape of his own dreams and delusions, propelled solely by a preposterous, quixotic, and ultimately heartbreaking insistence that his own life story, no matter how crummy, is worth being told in the pages of Great Literature.
The Making of Toro is a unique comic classic, a hilarious poke in the ribs of self-important "literary memoirs," and also a sly, poignant tale of the hazards of trying too hard to turn real life into high art.

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THE MAKING OF TORO: Bullfights, Broken Hearts, and One Author's Quest for the Acclaim He So Richly Deserves

User Review  - Kirkus

The author of Car Camping (not reviewed) on his schizophrenic visit to the world of bullfighting.It's Sundeen who spent the morning "emptying tubs of human poo" in a Utah national park before his ... Read full review

The making of toro: bull fights, broken hearts, and one author's quest for the acclaim he deserves

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This is not, repeat not, a book about bullfighting. Instead, it involves a young author's attempt to write a book about bullfighting and, in the process, to morph into his hardboiled adventurer alter ... Read full review

Selected pages


Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
About the Author

Chapter Nine

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About the author (2003)

Mark Sundeen is the author of Car Camping and lives in Utah.

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