Harold Brodkey was an American short-story writer and novelist. Brodkey was born in Staunton, Illinois, to an illiterate junk dealer.
His mother died while he was an infant, and he was raised by his father’s relatives, who adopted him, in University City, Missouri, outside St. Louis. When he was eight, his adoptive mother developed cancer and his adoptive father had a stroke. Brodkey would obsessively chronicle the death of his mother and the illnesses of his adoptive parents in his writing.