Sanford Friedman

Born in New York City, Sanford Friedman (1928–2010) was an American novelist and playwright, who taught writing at Juilliard. After graduating from the Carnegie Institute of Technology, he served in the army in Korea from 1951 to 1953, where he was awarded a Bronze Star. His 1961 novel, Totempole, and his never-before-published Conversations with Beethoven will both be available as NYRB Classics in Fall 2014.

  • book image

    Conversations with Beethoven

    Deaf but still able to converse, Beethoven “heard” those around him by means of conversation books in which friends and family jotted down communications. This daring novel, featuring a Dickensian cast, is a fictional reconstruction of these books. In it we see the ageing composer struggling with his art, fighting illness, and perpetually worried about the fate of his wayward ward and nephew, Karl.

  • Totempole

    Friedman’s psychologically acute and empathetic masterpiece traces the coming-of-age—from two to twenty two—of a boy growing up on the Lower East Side of New York. “Vivid and utterly convincing…The truth of Mr. Friedman’s book is not the truth of autobiography, but the truth-making that the best fiction is.”—James Dickey