Paul Lafarge Obituary, Death – Paul Lafarge, an American novelist, essayist, and scholar has passed away from cancer. He published five novels over the span of two decades: The Artist of the Missing (1999), Haussmann, or the Distinction (2001), The Facts of Winter (2005), Luminous Airplanes (2011), and The Night Ocean (2017), all of which received positive critical acclaim, notably Haussmann. His essays, fiction, and book reviews have appeared in journals such as The Village Voice, Harper’s, and The New Yorker, among others.
La Farge, a New York City native, attended Yale University. He has resided at Yaddo (1999) and MacDowell (2002), as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship (2002) and a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship. He has received two California Book Awards, as well as the Bard Fiction Prize (2005), which is granted annually by Bard College, where he taught MFA. He was a Visiting Professor of English at Wesleyan University from 2009 to 2010. He has also taught writing at Columbia University. From 2013 to 2014, he was a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.
La Farge was the Picador Guest Professor for Literature at the University of Leipzig’s Institute for American Studies in Leipzig, Germany, from 2016 to 2017. He was given a residency at the American Academy in Berlin in 2019. He taught at Bennington College from July 2020 until his death from cancer in January 2023. The Artist of the Missing, La Farge’s first novel, was published in May 1999 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, with surrealist drawings by cubist artist Stephen Alcorn.
The story takes set in a modern city where individuals frequently go missing. Frank, the titular character, paints portraits of the missing, including his parents, brother James, and, eventually, his romantic interest, the intriguing police photographer Prudence, who was tasked with photographing corpses. Reviewers compared his debut novel to those of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Luis Borges, and he was dubbed a “literary magician” and a “fantasist” by some.