Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Runaway Soul” as Want to Read:
The Runaway Soul
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Runaway Soul

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  30 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Acclaimed New Yorker writer Brodkey set the literary world ablaze with this much-talked-about debut novel--a literary tour de force about an adopted child in the early 1930s who is raised in the St. Louis household of his cousins. "Impressive. . . . The work of a lifetime. . . . As haunted by love, death, and madness as The Oresteia".--Washington Post Book World.
Paperback, 835 pages
Published November 1st 1992 by Harper Perennial (first published 1991)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Runaway Soul, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Runaway Soul

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 196)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
MJ Nicholls
Brodkey’s lifelong opus, largely forgotten for obvious reasons, is a contender for the most solipsistic, inward-looking 835pp novel since Bill Vollmann’s nine-volume Reflections on My Eyebrows. Brodkey, who published a story collection in 1958 and no books in the 60s or 70s or most-of-the-80s until Stories in an Almost Classical Mode in 1988, by remaining a New Yorker man his entire life, made himself a human dartboard by holding back this novel until 1991. Because TRS was savaged by everyone ex ...more
J Frederick
0. First some reception history. If you want to skip to content on The Runaway Soul itself, go to 10.

1. As of today, January 3rd 2013, Harold Brodkey's The Runaway Soul received its 21st rating on goodreads. The novel is hovering over oblivion.

2. Was the novel barely reviewed, ignored upon release (1991)? Not at all. In the not-so-distant past, Harold Brodkey was a very public figure, especially for an American doing ambitious, original work. With some big guns behind him—Bloom called him an “A
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
See Friend Jonathan's review:

The Village Bookshop had an inscribed 1st/1st for US$7.95. Now I have it. I am happified.

I kn[e]w nothing. Something about "much maligned" and one insightful goodreads reviewer used the word "verbal diarrhea" but hers is a sentence fragment meaning perhaps to have said "not" verbal diarrhea.

"Whatever" say today's kids and we'll provide a link:
Hans Van
I have tried to get through more than the first 50 pages of this scores of times, to no avail. Since I like books that 'go somewhere' more (i.e. somthing of note happens), and I have the feeling that this one doesn't, I decided to abandon trying to read it. It must be a great book, but unfortunately, I fail to recognise what's great this time.
Feb 02, 2013 Gregory rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All
Recommended to Gregory by: The remainder bookstore in Branson, Missouri
Flying and crying and trying and dying and wondrous entrance into Wiley Silenowicz's consciousness, St. Louis representing realness of the twentieth century, indirect hommage to both hobos and Proust the famous homo in the first couple vignettes, a book that lit up my late-teen years to the possibilities of modernist and postmodernist fiction.
Nov 02, 2007 Henry marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I tried to read it (I will continue to try) but there was just too much Writing in there to hold my attention.
Anne Sanow
Verbal diarrhea. Read anything else by him.
Diana marked it as to-read
Mar 04, 2015
Eddy Smith
Eddy Smith marked it as to-read
Feb 11, 2015
Trent Riley
Trent Riley marked it as to-read
Feb 10, 2015
peter added it
Feb 07, 2015
Patrick Fay
Patrick Fay is currently reading it
Jan 04, 2015
Nyssa Koring
Nyssa Koring marked it as to-read
Dec 18, 2014
Erik marked it as to-read
Dec 06, 2014
Matthew marked it as to-read
Nov 29, 2014
Peretdesnos marked it as to-read
Nov 21, 2014
Austin added it
Nov 12, 2014
Anthony marked it as to-read
Oct 28, 2014
Nuria Castaño monllor
Nuria Castaño monllor marked it as to-read
Oct 23, 2014
Marek marked it as to-read
Oct 20, 2014
Mark marked it as to-read
Oct 15, 2014
Guosa marked it as to-read
Oct 14, 2014
Courtney marked it as to-read
Oct 07, 2014
Luís Blue B.
Luís Blue B. marked it as to-read
Sep 14, 2014
Stephen P
Stephen P marked it as to-read
Sep 13, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Harold Brodkey was born into a Mid-Western Jewish family, moving to New York and coming to prominence as a writer in the early 1950s. During the following four decades, he established himself as a modern master of short fiction. He contracted the AIDS virus and died in 1996. Some of his books were published posthumously.
More about Harold Brodkey...
Stories in an Almost Classical Mode First Love and Other Sorrows: Stories This Wild Darkness: The Story of My Death Profane Friendship My Venice

Share This Book