Ten years ago I was introduced to the novels of Jerzy Kosinski. He quickly became one of my favorite authors. (in December 2005 I posted about it here) Besides the content and style of Kosinski’s writing the form he frequently used shares a trait with two other authors I like – Richard Brautigan and Kurt Vonnegut. Many times since 2005 I promised myself I would reread his work. Recently I began to do just that but in a very methodical way. I began by reading James Park Sloan’s in-depth and eye-opening biography of Kosinski. I knew his life and work had generated controversy but was still surprised. As I reach the point in Sloan’s book where he talks about Kosinski writing each of his novels I put down the biography, picked up the novel and read it before continuing with the bio.
Kosinski’s life is the basis for his novels, however fictionalized they (and it) may be. Kosinski had a lifelong habit of shaping the stories of his own life to fit the situation. He believed the truth of one’s own life was relative and subject to interpretation. Kosinski committed suicide in 1991 at age 57.