Novelist, Author of The Ha-Ha
Winner of the Rome Prize
“Literature is rich with unforgettable narrators—Huckleberry Finn, Holden Caulfield, The Great Gatsby’s Nick Carraway, White Noise’s Jack Gladney— but none quite so unique as Howard Kapostash in Dave King’s debut novel, The Ha-Ha…a novel brimming over with wizened compassion, hard-won humor, and full-blooded tenderness….Haunting, hilarious, and human.”
—J. Rentilly, Pages
Dave King holds a BFA in painting and film from Cooper Union and an MFA in writing from Columbia University; he taught English at Baruch College and Cultural Studies at the School of Visual Arts in New York before moving to New York University’s Gallatin School of Interdisciplinary Studies. Of his debut novel, the New York Times Book Review wrote, “The Ha-Ha is full of emotional truth and establishes King as a writer of consequence.“ The Ha-Ha was a finalist for Book of the Month Club’s best Literary Fiction Award and the Quill Foundation’s award for Best Debut Fiction and was named one of the best books of 2005 by the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Several foreign language editions are in print, and a film version is in development by Warner Brothers Pictures. In addition, The Ha-Ha earned Dave King the 2006 John Guare Writers Fund Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
King’s poems and essays have appeared in The Paris Review, The Village Voice and Big City Lit, and in the Italian literary journal Nuovi Argomenti. He divides his time between Brooklyn and Hudson Valley, New York. A new novel, tentatively entitled The Beast and Beauty, is forthcoming from Little, Brown & Co.
About THE HA-HA (2005)
“To examine disability is to examine ability, too...” —Dave King
“While The Ha-Ha is a novel of many things—family, friendship, disability, desire—it is mostly a novel of learning to live, of truth and beauty, carrying within it the pain and ugliness those words entail, as well as their more optimistic tones of light and love. King has achieved something important with his first novel: he has given voice to the voiceless." —Pablo Tanguay, Nashville Scene
The Ha-Ha is an unforgettable first novel about silence, family, and the imperative of love. Howard Kapostash has not spoken since a blow to the head during his service in Vietnam; thirty years later, words still unravel in his mouth and letters on the page make no sense at all. No one understands that Howard is still the same man he was before enlisting, still awed by the beauty of a landscape, still pining for his high school sweetheart, Sylvia.
Now Sylvia is a single mom with troubles of her own. Hauled into a drug rehab program, she asks Howard to care for her nine year-old son, Ryan, and the presence of this nervous, resourceful boy in Howard's life transforms him utterly. Forced out of his groove, Howard finds unexpected delights in the joy, sorrows, and love of a makeshift family, but these changes also open him to the risks of loss—and to the rage he's spent a lifetime suppressing.
Written with a stylish precision that prompted some of 2005's best reviews, The Ha-Ha is a deeply moving story about the cost of war and the infinite worth of human connection. As The Boston Globe said, "King's prodigious gift is to reveal Howard's rich inner life, and in the process he spins a luminous meditation on war, family, and all the ways we can converse."