L. J. Davis

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Lawrence James Davis (July 2, 1940 – April 5, 2011), better known as L. J. Davis, was an American writer, whose novels focused on Brooklyn, New York.[1]

Davis's novel, A Meaningful Life,[2] described by the Village Voice as a "scathing 1971 satire about a reverse-pioneer from Idaho who tries to redeem his banal existence through the renovation of an old slummed-up Brooklyn town house", was reissued in 2009, with an introduction by Jonathan Lethem.[3] Lethem, a childhood friend of one of Davis's sons, praised the novel in an essay about Brooklyn authors, which resulted in New York Review Books Classics reprinting it after nearly 40 years.

Davis was a resident of Brooklyn since 1965. He was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1975 to write fiction, but then began to write journalism, notably for Harper's Magazine.

Davis died at his home in Brooklyn on April 5, 2011.[4]


  • Whence All But He Had Fled (1968)
  • Cowboys Don't Cry (1969, Viking Press. reprinted 1970, Ace Books)
  • A Meaningful Life (1971, 2009)
  • Walking Small (1974)

Non-fiction books[edit]

  • Bad Money: Big Business Disasters in the Age of a Credit Crisis (1982)
  • Billionaire Shell Game: How Cable Baron John Malone and Assorted Corporate Titans Invented a Future Nobody Wanted (1998)
  • Fleet Fire: Thomas Edison and the Pioneers of the Electric Revolution (2003)