DeWitt Henry

Selected Works

Short Fiction
These are stories with traction. Henry's writing immediately brought to mind the work of Richard Yates in terms of style, time periods, and deep characterization. And, like Yates, he takes no prisoners. --Susan Tepper, author of THE MERRILL DIARIES....... What a marvelous, fierce collection! --Margot Livesey, author of THE FLIGHT OF GEMMA HARDY....... Who’d have thought we could enjoy such engagement, even entertainment, in some of the worst nightmares of life as a man in America? In the good cop breaking bad, the solid breadwinner who begins to lose, and lose, or the middle-aged middling success who, with one step outside the norms, might break his neck? Dewitt Henry skillfully computes the angle of fall for all those. In one freaky, brainy outlier of a tale, he even details the long drop of the great King Kong. Yet in Kong's case as in the dirt-beneath-the-nails realism of the two novella-length closers — each the rise and fall of an entire Rust Belt cityscape — Falling proves most moving in its grasp of the essential tragedy: the perversion of the dream once pure. --John Domini, author of MOVIEOLA
Memoir
21 brief sketches about growing up on the Philadelphia Main Line during the 1940s and 50s
Hidden River Press. 2011. 252 pages. This is a moving, sepia-toned, and powerful look at the bonds of a family, but it also tracks the development of a deeply gifted writer and his dedication to American letters. This resonant memoir is by turns poignant and harrowing, and with each new page, I felt the exhilarating rush of recognition. In writing about his family, DeWitt Henry ushers his readers to better understandings of their own histories. --Bret Anthony Johnston, author of CORPUS CHRISTI: STORIES
Red Hen Press, 2008. 190 pp."As with any flat-out wonderful book, a few words of praise cannot begin to do it justice. But here goes: SAFE SUICIDE is elegantly written, edgy, touching, inventive, surprising in its shifts of style and form, and completely spellbinding from start to finish. Partly memoir, partly a sequence of interlocked essays, this is a book that works its way under your skin and down into your vital organs. It is really, really good."--Tim O’Brien, author of THE THINGS THEY CARRIED.
Novel
Winner of the 2000 Peter Taylor Prize for the Novel
Anthology
Essays that reflect the tenacity, the strength to go forward and to love. Beacon Press, 2001. 219 pp.
Co-edited with James Alan McPherson. Beacon Press, 1999. 252 pp.
A collection of first or very early fiction by now prominent authors as it appeared in the prizewinning journal Ploughshares over the past three decades.

Fathering Daughters: Reflections by Men


Literally hundreds of books cast light on the mother-daughter bond, but the relationship between a girl and her other parent remains stubbornly hidden in shadow. The strikingly lucent essays in Fathering Daughters do their best to repair that imbalance. There's Rodger Kamentz, who prefers speaking English straight up rather than babbling baby talk at his infant Anya--"Why offer her ears a blurry target?"--and Rick Bass, who worries about tweaking his daughters' political consciousness too hard. You want your daughters to loathe injustice, he says, but do you want them to burn as erratically and out-of-control as you do--with that much bitterness? Psychiatrist Samuel Shem observes American gender differences with some alarm as his 3-year-old daughter anxiously considers what to wear before a play date where the boy will snub her attempts to connect. Darker tales surface from Gary Soto, drowning in depression, and William Petersen, on a vacation with a daughter dying of leukemia. A few essays are irritatingly narcissistic, but the best showcase some tremendous writers capturing murmurs that swell to a roar as they echo back from our own lives. - Francesca Coltrera