Hiding Man

A Biography of Donald Barthelme

Tracy Daugherty

Picador

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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).

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Book Excerpts

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Chapter One

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The America that Don knew as a boy and as a teenager, in the 1930s and 1940s, was a nation whose structures were beginning to be formed with messianic fervor. Or so his father believed. His father, Donald Barthelme, was born in Galveston, Texas, in 1907, the son of a lumber dealer. He learned, early, to calculate board feet, negotiate timber rights, and distinguish loblolly from other sorts of pine trees. These skills led him to a pragmatic view of building and of problem solving in general, a view his eldest son would inherit.

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Reviews

Praise for Hiding Man

"A page-turner. . . An amazing and rare accomplishment."--Lorrie Moore, New York Review of Books

"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

"The inimitable Don B is fortunate in his biographer: Hiding Man is a richly detailed, full-length portrait of the artist at all stages of his too-short life."--John Barth

"Barthelme is among the most original and moving writers who ever existed.  This book is an amazing account of what a life in writing really is.  In fact, it's what living a life really is.  How often do you read a book and think you've found out about that?"--Ann Beattie

"An excellent biography... Daugherty is right that the world seems ready for another look at what Barthelme accomplished for American fiction."--Louis Menand, The New Yorker

"A fond biography… Daugherty’s enthusiasm is catching."--Wall Street Journal
"Anchors a fascinating chapter in American letters by reclaiming and redefining a risk-taking writer whose edgy legacy is found in today’s most imaginative fiction."--Booklist, starred review
 
"Like Barthelme's best stories, this unapologetically literary and ambitious book is cultural and artistic bricolage at its finest."--Publishers Weekly, starred review

"An intimate considered account, filled with vivid characters, convincing insights into the writer’s process and the flavor of its subject’s difficult personal life."--Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"In the 1970s, he was considered the future of literature, and he still has fanatical supporters, my family being Exhibit A. But mostly he's regarded as a dead, twisted branch on the evolutionary tree of American letters.  Tracy Daugherty's Hiding Man should help correct that."--Time magazine

"If you believe that Donald Barthelme was as important formally to the second half of the twentieth century of American fiction as Hemingway was to the first, this is an important book. He was, and it is. As its subject would have had it, Mr. Daugherty is deft rather than ponderous,allusive rather than probative, and surprising in his tenable explications of what Donald Barthelme wrote and in his private revelations of who Donald Barthelme was. Mr. Daugherty dutifully wrestles 'ineffable' to the ground. Gay sadness abounds and he has Donald Barthelme just right."--Padget Powell  

"Donald Barthelme was a restless spirit, a cunning innovator, an incisive thinker, a funny and heartbreaking ironist, and a splendid prose stylist.  He was also a wonderfully quirky and complicated person.  Now the gifted fiction writer Tracy Daugherty has brought him out of the shadows and into the light in this rich, intimate, and thoroughly illuminating chronicle of the life and works of an American original.  It is a major achievement."--Ed Hirsch

"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


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About the Author

Tracy Daugherty

Tracy Daugherty's work has appeared in The New Yorker, McSweeney's, The Georgia Review, and others. He has received fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation. Once a student of Donald Barthelme's, he is now Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing at Oregon State University.

Tracy Daugherty

Tracy Daugherty

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Available Formats and Book Details

Hiding Man
A Biography of Donald Barthelme
Tracy Daugherty

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
February 2010
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312429300
ISBN10: 0312429304
5 13/16 x 9 inches, 592 pages, Includes sixteen pages of black-and-white photographs
$20.00

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
February 2009
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429965262
ISBN10: 1429965266
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 560 pages, Includes sixteen pages of black-and-white photographs
$7.99
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Picador

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