Read More / by Ben Nardolilli

The English language struck him as “hilarious,” and he copied passages and embroidered them during the summers with words from his mother’s bookshelves. Almost Truman Capote-like, if it had something of the bizarre, or was what he would call un amuse, he would bite. And so it was the boy’s prerogative to say he was a former knife salesman and telemarketer. A whimsical editorial choice, the oddball jobs were largely copied from a 1913 sea captain’s memoir. Pretty soon he was telling everyone he had been a driver for a rock & roll laundry. When he learned that The Paris Review was publishing his bio, he panicked at first and added that he worked as an intern to throw the staff a curveball. Two years later, he submitted another one to The Transatlantic Review and claimed he was a book-scouting agent for foreign publishers. Again, when it was published, no one recognized the stolen bits.