A twentieth-century American author and social critic, he published six novels over the course of his career. His best-known works include Out Went the Candle, False Coin, and The Unknown Constellations.
He began attending the University of Michigan when he was fifteen years old. He later worked as a riveter for Bell Aircraft.
He was a faculty member at the famous Iowa Writers' Workshop.
He was born in Buffalo, New York to a physician father and a musician mother. With his wife, Bette Beller, he had three children.
He worked with Grace Paley at Sarah Lawrence College.