McSweeney’s mourns the passing of Paul La Farge, a brilliant writer, teacher, and scholar. We were lucky to publish an early novel by Paul called The Facts of Winter, and he contributed often to our Quarterly and The Believer. We will be publishing tributes to Paul throughout the week. He was one of the most gentle and genuine of colleagues, and we miss him dearly.
My favorite memory of Paul is when we were all very young, and he lived in San Francisco in an apartment of artistic friends they called Paraffin House. I forget why—a sign they stole somewhere? It was the kind of generous, joyous bohemian life I’d come to San Francisco to find. And Paul brought me into it. His intelligence and talent were evident to the world, but his kindness is what everyone will remember.
— Andrew Sean Greer, author of Less is Lost
In 2005, McSweeney’s had just published The Facts of Winter, and so Paul and I and Salvador Plascencia went on tour to promote their books. We rented a Pontiac Sunfire and hit the road: Toronto, Boston, Western Mass., Providence, New York. Sal and I were slobs in our mid-20s; Paul must have been only four or five years older, but he seemed like an entirely different creature: witty and cultured and prematurely wise. We bopped from city to city in the Sunfire, sleeping on couches and besieging him with our slobbishness, which he endured with good-natured grace. Over the years we stayed in touch, bonding over Daniel Pinkwater and confusing Infocom games and whatever else. Through it all he remained witty and cultured and always very kind.
— Eli Horowitz