Mark Sundeen receives a call from a big city publisher with an offer to write a book about bullfighting in Spain. Sundeen agrees, assuming that this is his best and last chance to follow the trajectory of his literary heroes, despite the fact that he has never been to a bullfight, doesn't speak Spanish, and is not even a particularly good reporter.
After squandering most of the book advance, Sundeen can't afford a trip to Spain, so he settles for nearby Mexico. But the bullfighting he finds there is tawdry and comical, and there's little of the passion 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 Sundeen's idol, Ernest Hemingway. When LaFrance steps in, our narrator goes blundering through the landscape of his own dreams and delusions, propelled solely by the preposterous 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 and a sly, poignant tale of the hazards of trying too hard to turn real life into high art.
Mark Sundeen is the author of Car Camping and lives in Utah.
Outside Combining the self-deprecating wit of David Sedaris and the literary gamesmanship of Dave Eggers...Fabulously entertaining...The Making of Toro is a glorious mess, the tale of a hapless quest.
Detroit Free Press The Making of Toro...is part travelogue, part romance, part send-up of literary fashions, and wholly the mark of the quirkiest memoirist since David Sedaris.
National Geographic Adventure With Toro, Sundeen has created a consistent portrait of the artist as a young wannabe. The result is as fun, irreverent, and original as travel writing gets.
Hunter S. Thompson Books like this are written only once or twice in a century. Thank God.