An American Jewish novelist, short story writer, and essayist, he wrote Boswell: A Modern Comedy and other works dealing with consumerism, relationships, and popular culture. His later novels include The MacGuffin, Mrs. Ted Bliss, and The Rabbi of Lud.
He studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He published his debut novel in 1964 and his first short story collection in 1966.
He won the National Book Critics Circle Award twice: for George Mills (1982) and for Mrs. Ted Bliss (1995).
He was born in New York, and he grew up in Chicago. He married Joan Marion Jacobson in 1953.
He wrote his dissertation on the work of William Faulkner.