||In the 1960s Donald Barthelme came to prominence as the leader of the Postmodern movement. He was a fixture at the New Yorker, publishing more than 100 short stories, including such masterpieces as "Me and Miss Mandible," the tale of a thirty-five-year-old sent to elementary school by clerical error, and "A Shower of Gold,"in which a sculptor agrees to appear on the existentialist game show Who Am I? He had a dynamic relationship with his father that influenced much of his fiction. He worked as an editor, a designer, a curator, a news reporter, and a teacher. He was at the forefront of literary Greenwich Village which saw him develop lasting friendships with Thomas Pynchon, Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Wolfe, Grace Paley, and Norman Mailer. Married four times, he had a volatile private life. He died of cancer in 1989. The recipient of many prestigious literary awards, he is best remembered for the classic novels Snow White, The Dead Father, and many short stories, all of which remain in print today. This is the first biography of Donald Barthelme, and it is nothing short of a masterpiece.
||Twenty years after his death in 1989, Donald Barthelme finally receives his first full-length biography. Barthelme is notably connected to the postmodernist literary movement of the 1960s and 70s, a group of fiction writers who shunned traditional narrative in favor of more exploratory forms. He is most often associated with The New Yorker magazine, which published the vast majority of his stories. Barthelme also helped to found the creative writing program at the University of Houston, where one of his students was Tracy Daugherty, a successful novelist and his future biographer. Daugherty provides illuminating analyses of many of Barthelme's most irreverent and compelling works, while also detailing the writer's troubled personal life, which included four marriages, one of which ended in his wife's suicide. Barthelme also diligently upheld the stereotype of the drunken writer, and notably encouraged his students to partake in spirits to cure bouts of writer's block. There is little question that he was an innovative and influential writer, whose reputation will certainly ascend as the rest of us catch up to visionary style. Selected by the New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of 2009.