A twentieth-century American author, he published over fifty works, including novels, plays, short stories, essays, and non-fiction books. His works include The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson; The Collagists; The Tar Baby; and Marilyn the Wild.
He studied history and comparative literature at Columbia University. He published his first novel, Once Upon a Droshky, in 1964.
He was a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist.
He was born in the Bronx to Sam and Fanny Charyn.
Charyn's book on table tennis, Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins, was praised by author Don Delillo.