Finalist, 2016 Society for Midland Authors Award for Biography & Memoir
During his lifetime, William Gaddis (1922–1998) evaded biographical questions, never read from his work publicly, and didn’t allow his photograph to appear on his books. Before his novel J R (1975) won Gaddis the National Book Award and some measure of renown, he had given up the bohemian world of 1950s Greenwich Village for a series of corporate jobs that both paid the bills and provided an inside view of the encroachment of market values into every corner of American culture.
By illustrating the interconnectedness of Gaddis’s life and work, Tabbi, among his foremost interpreters, demystifies the “difficult author” and shows a writer who was as attuned as any to the way Americans talk, and who sensitively chronicled the gradual commodification of artistic endeavor. Illuminating, heartbreaking, and masterful, Tabbi’s book gives us the most subtly drawn portrait to date of one of the twentieth century’s seminal novelists.