Eric Lustbader


Second Skin



Eric’s a bit of Kevin Kline’s Fish Called Wanda, “Don’t call me stupid” character. He’s desperate to impress us by showing he’s read some Nietzsche, and can spell both his and Goethe’s names (probably better than I can), but someone needs to remind him that the central message of Buddhism is not ‘every man for himself’. He does, for example, just get deconstruction wrong, and tries to portray a nun as a seriously devout believer who has no concept of an afterlife. He tries to give his standard action novel (with formula use of seedy sexual background, plus some eastern mysticism thrown in) the pretence of profundity: difficult when, poor soul, he can’t actually conceive of anything more impressive than having a lot of money and being able to punch out, spiritually or physically, any comers. Think of Simon the sorcerer trying to buy a slice of the Holy Spirit. Even his ‘enlightened’ characters are as driven by materialism as the bad guys, they just aren’t (quite) so arbitrarily bloodthirsty. Oh, and they do stupid things, despite purported intelligence.


If, however, you can ignore the deep contradictions, just enjoy the vibe of the trash spirituality/philosophy and take the ride of standard thriller characters and violence, sure, Lustbader will take you along.


January 2002