An American novelist of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, he is best known for his 1983 novel, Modern Baptists. His literary works are often set in the fictional town of Tula Springs, Louisiana.
After graduating from Yale University, he worked at the Random House and Doubleday publishing houses in New York City.
He received a Guggenheim Fellowship.
He grew up in Hammond, Louisiana, and he later taught at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
He and Spalding Gray both received Guggenheim Fellowships.