An American novelist, essayist, and critic, he is known for such works as Days Between Stations, Rubicon Beach, and Tours of the Black Clock. His works fall into the literary genres of magical realism, surrealism, and avantpop.
He received degrees in film and journalism from the University of California-Los Angeles. He subsequently worked as a freelance writer for alternative weekly newspapers.
He received the National Endowment for the Arts award in 1987.
He grew up in Los Angeles, California as the only child of an actress mother and a photographer father.
He cites Henry Miller as one of his literary influences.