An American writer, he is particularly known for novels set in Brooklyn, New York. His best-known works include A Meaningful Life and Cowboys Don't Cry.
He published his first novel, Whence All But He Had Fled, in 1968 and subsequently worked as a journalist for Harper's Magazine.
He published his final novel, Walking Small, in 1974.
He grew up in New York City. His father, Maurice Davis, was killed in World War II.
He and Dorothy Baker both received Guggenheim Fellowships.