Monday, July 9, 2012

In Search of Thomas Berger: In Which I Get Honest

July 9th, 2012

No response from David Madden, fellow adventurer. But I am not discouraged! I realized that, maybe because it's the Summer and because he's old, Dr. Madden is on vacation/doesn't know how to use email/is dead. Furthermore, It's probable (mildly) that he gets a ton of email and will eventually get to mine and respond with open arms.

But, as promised, it's time to get honest. Up until this point all of my messages to people have been pandering, aloof, and tongue-in-cheek. So I decided to get serious. Prepare to cry, fellow adventurer.

Brooks Landon, or someone who hacked his site (your guess is as good as mine)

Brooks Landon is a professor at the University of Iowa and has written and taught extensively about Thomas Berger. More importantly, Thomas Berger actually dedicated a book to Dr. Landon, showing that he is aware of his existence. This is a good indicator that Brooks Landon has some idea how I might get in contact with Mr. Berger. So I sent him this email:

Dr. Landon,

For the last several weeks I have been infected with a need to find Thomas Berger. I don't need to meet him, befriend him, or spend dinner with his family, I just need to send him a letter, to know that he truly exists (as insane as it is to think that just a few more words, written directly to me, will prove his reality beyond that which has been established already by his body of work). I tried at first to ask Simon & Schuster. No dice. Second, I wildly shot off tweets at celebrities attached to film projects based on his books. Nothing. I tried a couple of other people who had a strong connection (Jonathan Lethem, after reading his essay, "Fan Mail," and David Madden, writer of Critical Essays on Thomas Berger). Then, I remembered that he had dedicated a book to you and I sought you out.

I understand if you are trepidatious about responding to me. I have received no response from anyone else. But I ask you, as a lover of literature and of what Thomas Berger does with it, to help me if you can to contact Thomas Berger. Even if he does not respond, I would live all my life grateful that I had the opportunity to thank the man whose books have given me some of the greatest adventures of my life.

Thank you for your time.

Kendall Pack

Did you weep, fellow adventurer? Of course you did. I poured my heart out to Dr. Landon in the hopes that he will see the honest desire of my search and respond in kind. 

It is possible that I will never get a response from anyone, which is fine. Because my back-up plan is to travel across the country, meeting everyone named Thomas Berger. There can't be that many (there are so many)!

Wish me luck, fellow adventurer!


  1. OK, I did it. I googled Thomas Berger. I confess that I had no idea who he was. Now I do. I think I will have to add him to my list of authors to read. Do you have a recommendation on a first Berger book?

    1. His most famous is Little Big Man (very Mark Twain-esque), also, I love Killing Time, The Feud, and The Houseguest. The Houseguest is more humorous than the others, if that's what you want.