1969 -- Steps

Since the first reports of his literary deceptions and personal quirks surfaced in the early 1980s, Kosinski has been discredited and dismissed so regularly that it is easy to forget how quickly and high his star rose in North America. His 1969 NBA winner, perhaps now the least read of these early books, was preceded by The Painted Bird (1965), and followed by Being There (1971), the acclaim won during these half-dozen years bringing Kosinski celebrity status, and with it the scrutiny and suspicion which undermined and destroyed him. The debates continue over what remains of Kosinski’s reputation and achievement, those agreeing with the early reviewers who compared Steps to the work of Celine, Kafka, Nabokov and Conrad having to accommodate the later revelations that the book was at least co-authored with Peter Skinner, and having to ignore the reports that the two would pause in their evening’s work (after first tucking the manuscripts away) to bed Sarah Lawrence coeds on an inflatable mattress.

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