The American writer of the The Jerusalem Quartet series, he is also known for the 1974 novel Quin's Shanghai Circus. Between 1974 and 1987 he published five novels.
He worked for the Central Intelligence Agency's Directorate of Operations during the 1960s.
He spent the last years of his life in poverty and died in New York City of prostate cancer.
He lived in Jerusalem with artist Helen Bar-Lev for several years.
He and Paul Giamatti both studied at Yale.