Peter Gadol
Biography

Peter Gadol was born on April 15, 1964 and grew up in Westfield, New Jersey. He was graduated from Harvard College in 1986. While at Harvard, he studied writing with Seamus Heaney, wrote a thesis on Wallace Stevens under the supervision of Helen Vendler, edited the literary magazine The Harvard Advocate, and was for two years a fiction intern at The Atlantic.

Gadol is the author of six books. His debut novel, Coyote, published by Crown in 1990, was hailed by The Los Angeles Times as “the work of an energetic mind, one seemingly unfettered by fashionable norms,” and his second novel, The Mystery Roast (Crown, 1993), was described by The Washington Post as “a savory spoof of trends, but ultimately...a love story involving secrets and dreams, anxieties about fulfillment and intimacy and the Muses that inspire us nonetheless.”

Closer to the Sun, published by Picador USA in 1996, was inspired by Gadol’s move to Los Angeles and tells the story of a young couple who, after having lost their home in a canyon wildfire, enlist the help of a drifter to rebuild the house themselves, the drifter himself overcoming the loss of a lover to AIDS.

In The Long Rain (Picador USA, 1997), Gadol returned to California, this time wine country, to write a literary thriller about a lawyer who defends a man wrongly accused of committing a crime the lawyer himself committed. The novel was translated into several languages and nominated for a prize from PEN West.

Light at Dusk (Picador USA, 2000), is set in the Paris of a slightly near-future in which the far right has ascended and white power skinhead gangs freely roam the streets. The daylight abduction of a Lebanese boy causes a young American ex-diplomat to re-enter the morally questionable world he abandoned in order to find the child. The LA Weekly applauded the novel for its “elegant, but mannered prose; tight, suspenseful plotting; moody Parisian setting; fearlessly high-modernist concerns,” and claimed the novel “will not look out of place slouching on the shelf somewhere between Joseph Conrad and Graham Greene.”

Gadol's sixth novel Silver Lake was published by Tyrus Books in September 2009. Silver Lake is about two architects, two men turning forty who have been involved professionally and personally for twenty years, and who are beginning to see their practice and their marriage falter. One day, a peculiar young man drifts into their storefront office claiming he has car trouble, asking to use the phone. The men get to talking; the young stranger is curious but enchanting, and one of the architects ends up playing tennis with him that afternoon, ultimately inviting him home for dinner. The ensuing evening involves a lot of wine and banter and then increasingly dark conversation, and when the stranger has had too much to drink, the two men insist he sleep in their guest room. During the night, the stranger commits an act of violence which shatters the architects' ordered lives, each man in his own way over the days and months that follow coping with blossoming doubt and corrosive secrets.

Currently Gadol is writing an epic novel about twentieth-century design titled American Modern. His short fiction has appeared in Story and Tin House, and he has taught at UCLA and the California Institute of the Arts. He is an Associate Professor in the Graduate Writing Program at Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles.


Photo by Art Gray