Darin Strauss

Darin Strauss

Strauss before the 2010 National Book Critics Circle awards; his Half a Life won in autobiography
Born 1 March 1970 (1970-03-01) (age 41)
Roslyn Harbor (Long Island),  United States
Occupation Author
Nationality American
Period 21st century
Spouse(s) Susannah Meadows


Darin Strauss (born March 1, 1970) is an American writer based in Brooklyn, NY. Strauss's memoir Half a Life won the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award for memoir/autobiography.



Darin Strauss was born in the Long Island town of Roslyn Harbor. He attended Tufts University, where he studied with Jay Cantor. He is married to the journalist Susannah Meadows. He is the father of identical twin boys. He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York and teaches writing at New York University.

Writing career

His ALA Alex Award-winning, best-selling 2000 first novel Chang and Eng - a runner-up for the Barnes and Noble Discover Award, the Literary Lions Award, a Borders Award winner, and a nominee for the PEN Hemingway award, among others — is based on the lives of the famous conjoined twins Chang and Eng. Chang and Eng was a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year, a Newsweek Best Book of the Year, among others. The rights to the novel were optioned to Disney, for the director Julie Taymor; the actor Gary Oldman purchased the rights from Disney. Strauss and Oldman are together adapting Chang and Eng for the screen.

Strauss, Kathryn Harrison and Elizabeth Wurtzel on a panel entitled "Exposing A Difficult Past" at the 2010 Brooklyn Book Festival.

Strauss's second book, The Real McCoy (2002), was based on the life of the boxer Charles "Kid McCoy." "The Real McCoy" was named a New York Times Notable Book," and one of the "25 Best Books of the Year," by the New York Public Library.

It was after this novel that Strauss won a Guggenheim Fellowship in Fiction Writing.

Strauss's third novel, More Than It Hurts You, his first in a contemporary setting, was published by PenguinPutnam in 2008. The book made a number of year-end best-book lists, and was also a national bestseller—reaching as high as #3 on both the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News lists, and #6 on the New York Post list, in July, 2008. Publicity for the book was strong, and Strauss blogged about his extensive book-tour for Newsweek, and was featured on The CBS Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson and Good Morning America.

He appeared on This American Life in a July 2008 episode titled "Life After Death," in which he talks about the effects of a traffic accident during high school, in which a classmate on a bicycle swerved in front of his car, and was killed. Although he could not have avoided the accident, and was not at fault, he still felt guilty, and it affected him for decades[1]

His next book, Half a Life is an essay-length memoir based on his traffic accident; it was published by McSweeney's in September, 2010, and was excerpted in GQ magazine, and This American Life, and also in The Times of London and The Daily Mail (UK). Half a Life was named an Entertainment Weekly Must Read and a New York Times Editor's Pick—and a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Amazon.com, The Plain Dealer, The San Francisco Chronicle, among many others. A critical favorite in the UK, Half a Life was called "a masterpiece" by Robert McCrum in The Guardian,[2] "one of the best books I have ever read" by Ali Catterall on The BBC,[3] as well as "precise, elegantly written, fresh, wise, and very sad ... indicative not only of a very talented writer, but of a proper human being” by Nick Hornby[4]

Half a Life won the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award (Autobiography).

Critical reception

Strauss has been called "a brave new voice in literature" by The Wall Street Journal,[5] "a hugely talented writer with unlimited potential" by The Times (London), "one of the most sharp and spirited of his generation," by Powells Books, "sublime" and "brilliant" by the Boston Globe,[6] "a magnificent and subtle writer" by Le Monde,[7] a "master" by the Chicago Tribune,[8] a novelist of "humor, humanity, and aching sadness" by The New York Times,[9] "as lyrical as he is daring" by The New Yorker,[10] "the most fearless of writers" by Salon.com, a "master of brevity" by The Observer (UK),[11] and "one of America's handful of young, great authors" by The Austin Chronicle.[12]

Vadim Razov, reviewing for the AV Club, found that the book Half-Life "...stumbles through a series of apololgies.."[13]

Awards and honors



  • Chang and Eng (2000)
  • The Real McCoy (2002)
  • More Than It Hurts You (2008)
  • Half a Life (2010)

Selected Anthologies

  • Lit Riffs (2004)
  • The Dictionary of Failed Relationships (2004)
  • Coaches (2005)
  • A People's Fictional History of the United States (2006)
  • An Encyclopedia of Exes (2004)
  • Bloodshot: An Insomnia Anthology (2007)
  • Brooklyn Was Mine (2008)
  • Brothers (2009)
  • The Book of Dads (2009)
  • Top of The Order: Best-selling writers on Baseball (2010)


  • Mr. Beluncle, by V. S. Pritchett; Strauss wrote the new introduction (2005)
  • Long Island Shaolin, one of the first Kindle Singles -- short works published by Amazon; other Kindle Single debut authors include Jodi Picoult and Rich Cohen

See also

Book collection.jpg Novels portal


  1. ^ "This American Life #359". July 18, 2008. http://www.thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=359. 
  2. ^ "To cut a long story short, brevity is best". March 19, 2011. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/mar/20/short-darin-strauss-robert-mccrum. 
  3. ^ "Tuesday Book Club". February 18, 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00ybxfl/Nemone_West_Is_West_actors_Om_Puri_and_Aquib_Khan/. 
  4. ^ "Book Column, Believer Magazine". December, 2010. http://www.beautiful-books.co.uk/120-half-a-life.html. 
  5. ^ Flatley, Kate, Wall Street Journal, page W10, June 2, 2000.
  6. ^ Graham, Renee, The Boston Glone, page B9, June 5, 2000.
  7. ^ Le Monde, 31 octobre 2003.
  8. ^ Santow, Dan, Chicago Tribune, page 2, August 25, 2002.
  9. ^ Santella, Andrew, New York Times, June 4, 2000.
  10. ^ The New Yorker, page 181, June 19, 2000.
  11. ^ "Master of brevity: Darin Strauss". March 19, 2011. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/mar/20/short-darin-strauss-robert-mccrum. 
  12. ^ Badgley, Shawn, The Austin Chronicle, May 31, 2002.
  13. ^ Rizov, Vadim (September 16, 2010). >ref/ "Half A Life". avclub.com. Onion Inc.. http://www.avclub.com/articles/darin-strauss-half-a-life,45244>ref/. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 

External links

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