Detour (Brodsky novel)

Detour is Michael Brodsky's first novel. It is the first person partly autobiographical[2] account of an often bored film devotee going to Cleveland for medical school, making observations on everything in his daily life, either in a philosophical manner, or by comparing any given incident with some classic film scene, or both. Halfway through, the narration is interrupted by Steve's story, also told in first person. The novel eventually resumes with the original first person narrator, who finally decides medical school is not for him.

First edition cover
AuthorMichael Brodsky
Cover artistMichael Hafftka[1]
GenrePostmodern literature
Published1977 (Urizen Books)
Media typePrint (clothbound hardcover)

According to one critic,

Michael Brodsky was so taken with the cultural milieu at the Thalia Theater, a famous New York art house, that he wrote a novel about it.[3]


Detour was republished in 1991 by Begos & Rosenberg, with a 1991 copyright, and no indication of any earlier edition, yet textually identical with the 1977 edition.

Detour was republished in 2003 by Del Sol Press, in an expanded, rewritten edition.

Detour was announced to be published in a German translation as Umwege by Suhrkamp Verlag but never actually appeared and Suhrkamp at present refuses to let either Brodsky or his original editor Michael Roloff, co-publisher at Urizen Books, know what transpired.


Michael Brodsky is a brilliant writer. I find more affinity with him than with any other recent American novelist.

Peter Handke, dust jacket

This is an extraordinary and artistically rigorous novel .... [Brodsky] is a master both of technique and of language, his sentences positively crackling with unexpected insights.

?, Publishers Weekly

Brodsky's a comer, chockablock with high intentions and nerve.

?, Kirkus Reviews

The real protagonist is language: adventures occur, not to people, but to metaphors and images.

Scott Sanders, Chicago Sun-Times

It should be obvious to serious readers ... that Brodsky ... is a sensitive, original, and insightful writer, one of the best produced by this country in the last 30 years.

Harvey Pekar, Village Voice, "An American Revisionary", 8/19/2003


  1. The dust jacket says "Michael Haffka". See Hafftka's short bio for verification.
  2. Village Voice 2003 review
  3. Hawkins, Joan (2000). Cutting Edge: Art-Horror and the Horrific Avant-Garde. University of Minnesota Press. p. 58.
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