Barry Targan is the author of the collections of poetry Let the Wild Rumpus Start: Poems (1971) and Thoreau Stalks the Land Disguised as a Father: Poems (1975) and several novels, including Kingdoms: A Novel (1980), The Tangerine Tango Equation: Or, How I Discovered Sex, Deception, and a New Theory of Physics in Three Short Months (1990), and The Ark of the Marindor (1998).
Barry Targan won the 1975 University of Iowa Short Fiction Award for Harry Belten and the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, the Associated Writing Programs Award for Kingdoms in 1980, the Saxifrage Award for Surviving Adverse Seasons in 1981. He received a National Endowment for the Arts Grant in 1983. Several of his stories have appeared in Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards and The Best American Short Stories and have won Pushcart Prizes.
“Barry Targan.” In Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series 71, Detroit: Gale Research, 1999. A brief biographical survey of Targan’s literary career. Summarizes critical reception of Targan’s work and comments on his novel The Ark of the Marindor.
Clements, Arthur L. “Barry Targan.” In Dictionary of Literary Biography 130. In a rare general discussion of Targan’s fiction, Clements comments on some of the general themes and characters in Harry Belten and the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, Surviving Adverse Seasons, and Falling Free. Argues that Targan works within the realistic tradition and often focuses on the theme of engaging in life with as much honesty, skill, love, and devotion as one can muster.
Evanier, David. “Storytellers.” The New York Times, July 27, 1980, p. 18. A review of Surviving Adverse Seasons; discusses “Kingdoms,” which Evanier says is the best story in the collection. Says Targan’s stories embody a tug of war between his abstract turn of mind and his concrete gifts as a story writer. Says Targan needs to be less ponderous and more immediate and responsible.
Lotozo, Elis. “Life: Want to Make Something of It?” Review of Falling Free, by Barry Targan. The New York Times, March 3, 1990, p. 24. Lotozo calls the stories passionate arguments with and love songs to a world that offers “no guarantees, only opportunities, and vicissitudes.” Comments on the three stories in which aging men confront the choices they have made with their lives.
Morgan, Speer. “The Plot Thickens.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 9, 1998, p. E3. Says The Ark of the Marindor is reminiscent of a Joseph Conrad novel, complete with compelling incident. Argues that the real story of this “beautifully crafted novel” is the protagonist’s growing understanding of the bearing of her life.
Sweeney, Aoibheann. “Bermuda Triangle.” Review of The Ark of the Marindor, by Barry Targan. The New York Times, June 14, 1998, p. 14. Says Targan’s work focuses on the theme of self-discovery; argues that what saves the book is the sensual descriptions of sailing rather than the dizzying pace of the plot and the page-turning Hollywood machinery of suspense.