Author Mark Lindquist in Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair, 1990

“Look Back in Angler” by Angela Janklow

Though a big fish in New York’s Atlantic Monthly Press pond (his first novel, “Sad Movies,” was their best-selling fiction paperback in 1987), Seattle-born writer, Mark Lindquist is firmly anchored in the Pacific, where he maneuvers his six-foot-six-inch frame around his forty-five-foot home — a Hatteras sportsfishing yacht called the Go Dog Go. Life on the waters off Marina del Ray suits Lindquist, whose northwestern sensibility steered him away from “the city where eight people take seven cars to go anywhere.” He says, “Living on a boat is as far out of LA as I can get but still live here.”

Lindquist, who moonlights as a screenwriter (he’s had assignments at half a dozen studios), has a new novel coming to a bookstore near you. “Carnival Desires” — featuring a burned-out screenwriter named Bick, short for Buick — is a witty minimalist epic that tracks a group of industry hopefuls and casualties with the smart, spare prose only an outsider on the Hollywood inside can afford. His characters have wakes for their 30th birthdays, walk dogs named Madonna, worry whether Tower Records is open on New Year’s Day, and threaten to “push past the edge of socially acceptable debauchery.” Essentially, it was the best of times, it was the worst of clubs. “Carnival Desires” plays up Southern California’s rhythmic lull while warning of Hollywood’s seductively dangerous draw-the dark side of the klieg light. “It’s attractive,” insists Lindquist, “but it’s not good for you.”