Paul La Farge, Inventive Novelist, Is Dead at 52
He played with history and narrative techniques whether writing about 19th-century France or H.P. Lovecraft.
Paul La Farge, whose novels played audaciously with history and narrative technique as they explored how the past can affect the present, died on Jan. 18 in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He was 52.
His wife, Sarah Stern, said the cause was cancer.
Mr. La Farges novels and short stories defied easy categorization, but they were all characterized by a sort of writer's derring-do.
With each novel he would set out, and then it would become clear to him that he had set what seemed like an impossible formal challenge for himself, Ms. Stern, the artistic director of the Vineyard Theater in Manhattan, said by email, but he would keep on, wrestling forward and sideways and backwards, and eventually the story and its form would be inextricable in a way that was awe-inspiring and yet felt inevitable.
Mr. La Farge lived in Red Hook, N.Y., in the Hudson Valley, and was something of a magnet for a group of writers in that area, among them the novelist and memoirist Gary Shteyngart, who was a fan.
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