An American novelist and short story writer, he is particularly known for Women and Men, a more than 1,000-page-long novel. His other works include Lookout Cartridge, The Letter Left to Me, and Actress in the House.
He graduated from Williams College and served in the U.S. Coast Guard before earning his Ph.D. from Columbia University.
He was a two-time recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.
He married Joan Leftwich in 1961; they became parents to a daughter named Hanna in 1967.
He once interviewed Norman Mailer.