A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS' CHOICE
During his fifty-eight-year lifetime Donald Barthelme published more than one hundred short stories in The New Yorker and authored sixteen books. He was a contemporary and friend of Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Pynchon, Susan Sontag, and Norman Mailer, and has received recent tributes from Dave Eggers and George Saunders. He had a volatile private life and his search for a place in American letters took him across the country, briefly to Denmark, and through a host of occupations. When he wasn't hiding, he was passionately searching and living. Barthelme's writing is a found-art-style mix of pop culture and high literature that is surprisingly funny and playful. This "excellent biography" (The New Yorker) "pursue[s] Barthelme's art to its shuddering core. . . . The enthusiasm is catching" (The Wall Street Journal).
"Create[s] a convincing narrative out a life that was deeply engaged, passionate, and maybe even fulfilled."--Colm Tolbin, The New York Times Book Review
"Superbly written and impeccably researched . . . a model of what literary biographies should be"--Phillip Lopate
"Lucky Daugherty to get Barthelme, but also lucky Barthelme to get Daugherty, and lucky all of us to get this great loving book."--Jonathan Lethem
"Sometimes when I’m writing I find myself wondering What Would Don Say? but there are few of us who can begin to approach the audaciousness and freshness of vision his writing first intruded into the staid halls of the publishing world. Tracy Daugherty’s investigation of this complex and private man is doubly fascinating for its portrait of the cultural moment into which Barthelme’s work exploded. No one has yet equaled Barthelme’s wit, his sexual and political candor, and his deep commitment to the possibilities of honest language. Daugherty lovingly but critically illuminates them all."--Rosellen Brown