Born Aaron Roy Weintraub in Staunton, Illinois, Harold Brodkey was, in his infancy, raised by his father after his mother died when he was 17 months old. At age 2, he was adopted by his father's second cousin and her husband, and raised in University City, Missouri. He began at Harvard University in 1947, married his first wife, Joanna Brown (with whom he had a daughter), before graduating and then moved to New York, where he found work as a page at NBC. Brodkey began his writing career after showing a short story he'd written to William Maxwell, an editor at The New Yorker; shortly after, he began regularly contributing short stories to it and other magazines. In 1958, he published his first short story collection, First Love and Other Sorrows, which received widespread critical praise upon its release. In the early '70s, he began writing his first novel, A Party of Animals, beginning a decades-long effort to finish the text, an effort which spanned multiple deals at multiple publishing houses and earned him a degree of notoriety and myth in the publishing industry even beyond the scope of his considerable talent. The literary critic Harold Bloom praised Brodkey as being "unparalleled in American prose fiction since the death of William Faulkner." He maintained a lush, lyrical style, poetically dancing around his subjects with great dexterity. His story, "Innocence," for example, is 31 pages long and chronicles a single sexual act; his story "His Son, in His Arms, in Light, Aloft" focuses on a father carrying his child in his arms. Brodkey publicly announced that he contracted AIDS in The New Yorker in 1993. He died at age 65 in 1996.

God is an immensity, while this disease, this death, which is in me, this small, tightly defined pedestrian event, is merely and perfectly real, without miracle – or instruction. – Harold Brodkey
Home | Contact | About the Film | Comment