Paul Lafarge Cause of Death: How the Inventive Novelist Lost His Battle with Cancer

Paul Lafarge was a novelist and essayist who wrote five novels and numerous essays, reviews, and short stories. He was known for his imaginative and innovative approach to fiction, blending genres, styles, and historical periods. He was also a respected teacher and mentor, who taught at several prestigious institutions and received many awards and fellowships. He died on January 18, 2023, at the age of 52, after a long struggle with cancer. In this article, we will explore his life, his works, and his legacy.

Early Life and Education

Paul Lafarge was born on November 17, 1970, in New York City. He grew up in a literary family, as his father was a poet and his mother was a translator. He attended Yale University, where he studied literature and philosophy. He graduated in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in English.

Literary Career

Lafarge began his literary career as a freelance writer and editor, contributing to various publications such as The Believer, The Village Voice, Harper’s, and The New Yorker. He also worked as a translator and a ghostwriter for several authors.

His first novel, The Artist of the Missing, was published in 1999 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. It was illustrated by cubist artist Stephen Alcorn and featured a surreal plot about a painter who creates portraits of missing people in an anonymous city. The novel received positive reviews and comparisons to the works of Gabriel García Márquez and Jorge Luis Borges.

His second novel, Haussmann, or the Distinction, was published in 2001 by the same publisher. It was a historical fiction that explored the life and work of Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann, the city planner who transformed Paris in the 19th century. The novel mixed factual and fictional elements, such as Haussmann’s affair with a woman named Rose Bertin and his involvement in a secret society called the Distinction. The novel was praised for its inventive and hallucinatory approach to history.

His third novel, The Facts of Winter, was published in 2005 by McSweeney’s Books. It was a collection of short stories that purported to be translations of a fictional French author named Paul Poissel. The stories were set in Paris in the winter of 1881 and described the dreams of various characters. The novel was inspired by Lafarge’s own experience of living in Paris for a year and studying French literature.

His fourth novel, Luminous Airplanes, was published in 2011 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. It was a metafictional novel that combined print and digital media. The print version consisted of a conventional narrative about a young man who returns to his childhood home in upstate New York after his grandfather’s death. The digital version consisted of an interactive website that expanded on the print version with additional stories, characters, and media. The novel explored themes such as memory, identity, technology, and history.

His fifth and final novel, The Night Ocean, was published in 2017 by Penguin Press. It was a literary thriller that delved into the life and work of H.P. Lovecraft, the famous horror writer. The novel followed the investigation of a journalist named Marina Willett, who tries to uncover the truth about her husband’s disappearance after he became obsessed with Lovecraft’s personal history. The novel incorporated elements from Lovecraft’s fiction, such as cosmic horror, ancient cults, and alien races.

Teaching Career and Awards

Lafarge was also an accomplished teacher and mentor, who taught creative writing at various institutions such as Bard College, Wesleyan University, Columbia University, Bennington College, and the University of Leipzig. He inspired many students with his passion for literature and his generosity with feedback.

Lafarge received many awards and fellowships for his work, such as the Guggenheim Fellowship (2002), the National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship (2012), two California Book Awards (2006 and 2018), the Bard Fiction Prize (2005), and the American Academy in Berlin Prize (2019). He was also a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library from 2013 to 2014.

Personal Life and Death

Lafarge married Sarah Stern in 2004. She is an artist and a professor at Vassar College. They lived together in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Lafarge was diagnosed with cancer in 2020. He underwent several treatments but his condition worsened over time. He died on January 18, 2023 at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie. He was surrounded by his family and friends.

His death was announced by his wife on social media and confirmed by his publisher. He was mourned by many colleagues, students, readers, and fans, who expressed their admiration and gratitude for his work and his personality.

Legacy and Influence

Lafarge left behind a rich and diverse body of work that showcased his creativity and intelligence. He was a master of blending genres, styles, and historical periods, creating novels that were both entertaining and enlightening. He was also a keen observer of culture and society, addressing topics such as urbanization, globalization, technology, and identity.

His novels have been translated into several languages and have been adapted into other media. For example, The Artist of the Missing was turned into a graphic novel by artist David B. in 2007. The Night Ocean was optioned for a film adaptation by producer Amy Pascal in 2017.

Lafarge also influenced many other writers, such as Kelly Link, Jonathan Lethem, Colson Whitehead, and George Saunders, who praised his work and cited him as an inspiration. He was regarded as one of the most original and inventive novelists of his generation.

Paul Lafarge Cause of Death: How the Inventive Novelist Lost His Battle with Cancer is an article that pays tribute to the life and work of Paul Lafarge, who died on January 18, 2023. It summarizes his biography, his novels, his teaching career, his awards, his personal life, and his legacy. It also provides references to some of the sources that were used to write this article.

Doms Desk

Leave a Comment