Sneha Girap

Michael Brodsky

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Occupation  Novelist, Editor
Role  Novelist
Name  Michael Brodsky

Notable works  Xman, ***
Nationality  American
Born  August 2, 1948 (age 67) New York City, United States (1948-08-02)
Books  Dyad, We Can Report Them, X in Paris, Three goat songs, Southernmost and other stories

Literary movement  Postmodern literature

Michael Mark Brodsky (born Aug 2, 1948) is a scientific/medical editor, novelist, playwright, and short story writer. He is best known for his novels, and for his translation of Samuel Beckett's Eleuthéria.


Personal background

Michael Brodsky was born in New York City, the son of Martin and Marian Brodsky. He attended the Bronx High School of Science. He received a 1969 BA from Columbia University, taught math and science in New York for a year, attended Case Western Reserve University medical school for two years, then taught French and English in Cleveland until 1975.

Brodsky returned to New York City in 1976, working as an editor for the Institute for Research on Rheumatic Diseases. He married Laurence Lacoste. They are the parents of two children, Joseph Matthew and Matthew Daniel. From 1985-1991, Brodsky was an editor with Springer-Verlag. After 1991, he was with the United Nations.

Brodsky lives on Roosevelt Island.

Unpublished works

The following list of "Books by Michael Brodsky" appeared in Project and other short pieces:

Bulletins, novel (1969-70) Haven, novel (1972-73)
  • Circuits, novel (1974, revised 1980-81)
  • Detour, novel (1975)
  • Flesh is Flesh, novel (1976) Street Lesions, play (1977)
  • Dose Center, play (1977)
  • Terrible Sunlight, play (1978)
  • Theme and Variations, novel (1979)
  • Night of the Chair, play (1980)
  • Four Nephews, dialogue (1980)
  • Wedding Feast and Two Novellas (1982)
  • Isaac Luria, novel (1982)

    The entries with a bullet-point have been published, or, in the case of the plays, performed. All novels but the last were named in a German-language newspaper article on Brodsky. Flesh is Flesh was named as forthcoming on the dustjacket of the first edition of Detour.


  • Detour, 1978
  • republished, expanded, Del Sol Press, 2003
  • Circuits, 1983
  • Xman, Four Walls Eight Windows, 1987
  • Dyad, Four Walls Eight Windows, 1989
  • ***, Four Walls Eight Windows, 1994
  • We Can Report Them, Four Walls Eight Windows, 1999
  • Forthcoming

  • Invidicum, an excerpt appears in Review of Contemporary Fiction, 31.1, Spring 2011 (the Failure issue), with this headnote:
  • Shorter fiction

  • Wedding Feast, 1981
  • Project, 1982
  • contains "The Envelope of the Given", also published separately in German translation by Jürg Laederach, 1982
  • X in Paris, 1988
  • Three Goat Songs, 1991
  • Southernmost, 1996
  • Limit Point, 2007
  • Plays

    Never published, these plays were performed Off-Off-Broadway in brief runs:

  • Terrible Sunlight, 1980
  • "An experimental work, ... utilizing various visual media ...."
  • Dose Center, 1990
  • The "play probes the interaction between two men, their fellows and keepers, within the confines of a mental institution."
  • Night of the Chair, 1990
  • The play "shows two figures playing out their life-or-death struggle around a single simple prop."
  • Six Scenes: A Barracks Brawl, 1994
  • The Anti-Muse, reading 1996, performance 2000
  • Apparently never performed, these plays were published in Project:

  • Packet Piece, 1982
  • No Packet Piece, 1982
  • Translation

  • Eleuthéria, by Samuel Beckett, written 1947, suppressed, published 1995
  • Criticism

  • "Svevo: The Artist as Analyzand", Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry, 15 no. 2-3 (1977), pp 112–133.
  • "Toward the Plane of the Sacred: Hafftka’s Great Chain of Being" essay in the catalogue for Michael Hafftka "A Retrospective: Large Oils 1985-2003" (2004).
  • Critical reception

    Critical reception to Brodsky's work has been strongly polarized, with the praise putting him in the company of some of the greatest writers, and with the rejections being openly insulting.

    Highly positive

    His novels, plays and short story collections have been likened, by the mainstream press, to the work of Beckett, Joyce, Kafka, Proust, Dostoevski and Swift, as well as Barth, Pynchon, Barthelme and Burroughts. I would add Thomas Bernhard and Italo Svevo, for reasons of style and the formidable, original talent their texts exhibit.

    It should be obvious to serious readers ... that Brodsky ... is a sensitive, original, and insightful writer, one of the best produced by this country in the last 30 years.

    Highly negative

    His latest deconstructionist experiment fails miserably, consisting almost entirely of the pathetic projections, obsessions, rationalizations, and delusions of a character we are not given the slightest reason to care about. A few scholarly avant-gardists, confused compulsives, and bibliomasochists will love this book.

    It would be nice if the hapless reader didn't have to reach for the nearest bottle of Excedrin or take a nap between pages or could actually connect with a character or two in any of these frustratingly opaque stories.


    Michael Brodsky Wikipedia

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