Frank Conroy Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Reviewer Terrence Rafferty praised Frank Conroy’s first book, Stop-Time (1967), as a “terrifically original contribution to the autobiography-of-a-young man genre.” His first novel, Body and Soul (1993), is an old-fashioned, often refreshingly upbeat Bildungsroman, the history of a musical prodigy’s development from humble beginnings to concert fame as a piano virtuoso.


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Frank Conroy has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Foundation for the Arts and Humanities, and the National Council for the Arts. Stop-Time was nominated for a National Book Award. He has taught writing at workshops and universities, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, American University, Brandeis University, and George Mason University.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Blades, John. “Great Expectations.” Chicago Tribune, October 27, 1993. Includes biographical details and comments by the author.

Conroy, Frank. “Frank Conroy.” Interview by Sybil S. Steinberg. Publishers Weekly (August 23, 1993): 44. Upholds Publishers Weekly’s tradition of high-quality interviews. Conroy discusses the difficulties of writing fiction in which music is central, why Stop-Time came out at exactly the wrong time (“Everybody was taking drugs and making love, and here was this sort of neoclassical memoir”), and his meager output.

Haegert, John. “Autobiography as Fiction: The Example of Stop-Time.” Modern Fiction Studies 33 (Winter, 1987). An insightful analysis of the autobiography and includes comparisons to Midair.

Pritchard, William H. Review of Midair, by Frank Conroy. The New York Times Book Review 98 (October 3, 1993): 12. While wondering “what Mr. Conroy has been up to as a writer” during nearly two decades of silence between Stop-Time and Midair, Pritchard connects the memoir and the stories by stressing this author’s exceptional grasp of the pains of childhood, the relationship between sons and fathers, looked at, in the first and last stories, from the angle of each. Finds Conroy’s “reliance on the actual” does not rule out the abstract.

Rafferty, Terrence. “Hanging in There.” Review of Midair, by Frank Conroy. The Nation 242 (January 11, 1986): 23-24. Sees Midair as, in part, a completion of Stop-Time and the two works together as “the best record we have of the ups and downs of writing as if your life depended on it.” Favors “Car Games,” Conroy’s New Yorker debut story as Midair’s best, a vicious parody of Stop-Time.

Tyler, Anne. “Spots of Time.” Review of Midair, by Frank Conroy. The New Republic 193 (November 18, 1985): 48-50. An imaginative review of Midair. Noting that all the characters are men, novelist Tyler identifies the underlying concerns of the seven stories: “How to live in the world as an adult male. How men connect with their sons and fathers, their old college roommates, their squash opponents. How they cling to their drinking rituals and their driving rituals.”