Personal History

If you’re asking yourself, “Where do I start?” here are some suggestions:

Many people say that they would like to begin at the beginning.

Ah, but in this case there are two beginnings.

Peter’s personal history begins with LITTLE FOLLIES.

However, the whole saga begins with HERB ’N’ LORNA.

The nine novellas in LITTLE FOLLIES were written and published first.

On the other hand, HERB ’N’ LORNA is the book that has introduced most people to Peter Leroy.

Either LITTLE FOLLIES or HERB ’N’ LORNA makes a fine beginning.

Other people want to begin with the latest installment, then turn to the earlier ones if they’re hooked.


And then there are those who would like a taste before deciding to sit down to the whole banquet.

The nine novellas from LITTLE FOLLIES are the shortest books, and they are available individually. For many people, these little books were their earliest experience of the personal history.

It really is true that you can start anywhere and read the books in any order.

However, if you want to read them in the order in which they were written, follow the order in the list in the upper-right-hand-corner of this page.


The Personal History, Adventures,
Experiences & Observations of
Peter Leroy

The Personal History is one large work of fiction composed of many interconnected parts.

Its parts are the memoirs and collected works of a fictional character, Peter Leroy, who tells an alternative version of his life story; explores the effect of imagination on perception, memory, hope, and fear; holds a fun-house mirror to scenes of life in the United States; ruminates upon the nature of the universe and the role of human consciousness within it; and prods and probes the painful world of time and place in search of the niches where hilarity hides.

Like the ingredients in a good clam chowder, each piece of this work is intended to contribute its individual flavor and texture to a single savory dish. In a chowder, there will be clams, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, some bits of bacon or salt pork, herbs, spices, and (if you’ve used good fresh clams) some dark, gritty bits at the bottom — with a rich broth to hold the whole thing together and distribute the combined essence of all the flavors throughout the bowl. Similarly, each of the books has its own texture and tang, and Peter Leroy’s personal history, adventures, experiences, and observations (and Kraft’s) are distributed throughout the bowl to hold the whole concoction together and flavor each bite with his imagination, voice, and style (and Kraft’s).

“The closest thing I can compare the Peter Leroy stories to is Calvin & Hobbes. Both are, on the surface, whimsical stories of precocious kids with fantastic imaginations. You get pulled in because they’re fun. But once you’re in, you begin to appreciate how many levels the creator is working on. In the same way Calvin & Hobbes was a profoundly creative accomplishment that crossed all the boundaries of what a comic strip could do, the Peter Leroy stories do the same in their own medium."
     “Ben Voreblog”

“Eric Kraft has spent his writing career creating a series of comic masterpieces. . . and am I ever glad he did. . . . The books can be read in any order, but be warned: Once you start the series, you won't want to read anything else until you finish them all.”
      Nancy Pearl, Book Lust

“Because Kraft expresses an abiding faith in steadfast love and impossible dreams, because he uses humor to shape a humanistic ethos, and because he takes profound pleasure in the resonance of language and the magic of storytelling, reading Kraft’s inventive and effervescent tales is a rare and sustaining joy.”
      Donna Seaman, Newsday

“Perhaps the most ambitious and rewarding literary enterprise of our time. . . . Even when you find yourself laughing aloud, it would be a mistake to take Eric Kraft lightly.”
      Andrew Ervin, The San Francisco Chronicle

“The cumulative effect of Kraft’s work is of a sober humor that refuses easy answers. . . . This is crafty work indeed and certain to endure when more pretentious and more touted writers are forgotten.”
      Bob Williams, The Compulsive Reader

“Reading the Peter Leroy saga is akin to watching a champion juggler deftly keep dozens of balls in the air while executing an intricate double-time dance routine—all without breathing hard. . . . Sentimental, loving, raucous, wise, and great fun, this is simply not to be missed.”

“This series is smart, funny, warmly inviting, and delightfully impossible to define.”
      Kate Bernheimer, The Oregonian

“Eric Kraft’s essential subject is suburban boyhood—in particular, that moment when it loses its innocence. . . . Like Lawrence Sterne, Kraft is unashamedly sentimental, digressive, and extremely funny; like Proust, profoundly nostalgic and obsessed with loss.  The typical Kraft novel is a laugh-out-loud read with undertones of grief and ruefulness.  Almost all of his books revolve around a single individual, Peter Leroy, who is now . . . as fully realized as any character in current American literature. . . . Under the surface humor, Kraft’s take on the national experience is thoughtful, disturbing, and unlike that of any other American writer.” 
      Anthony Brandt, Men’s Journal

The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences & Observations of Peter Leroy is one of the biggest, funniest, sweetest, and looniest undertakings in contemporary American fiction.
      John Strausbaugh, New York Press

“One of the cleverest and most charming literary enterprises in recent American fiction.”
      Mahinder Kingra, The City Paper (Baltimore)

“Is there a more beguiling writer today than Eric Kraft?”
      Publishers Weekly

“Mr. Kraft’s work is a weird wonder, successfully mating tales from the kind of small-town life that hardly exists anymore with a never-ending examination of what it’s like to create such a world. His preoccupation with the homely lives of the citizens of Babbington is adroitly offset by his passion for the story of telling the story . . . . In an age when computer technology is on the verge of unleashing the all-singing, all-dancing novel, Eric Kraft’s true theme, the awesome power of the low-tech human imagination, has never seemed so timely or so wise.”
      Karen Karbo, The New York Times Book Review

“Anyone who has mourned, or yearned for, his or her younger self will find Kraft an enchantment.” 
      Publishers Weekly

“An ever-evolving comic masterpiece. Beneath the dazzling comic antics, Kraft has a serious purpose: to investigate the nature and interaction of memory, reality, and invention.”
      Michael Upchurch, The Seattle Times

“Charming but never sappy, droll but never cynical, Peter Leroy’s adventures constitute one of our wittiest and most acute portraits of America at mid-century.  In the bargain, they are the literary equivalent of Fred Astaire dancing: great art that looks like fun.”
      Malcolm Jones, Jr., Newsweek

“The Peter Leroy stories and novels of Eric Kraft are among the mostingenious works of recent fiction. They are this fine writer’s way of using fiction to deal with that age-old dilemma of art, the links between illusion and reality.”
      Roger Harris, The Newark Star Ledger

"Reading Kraft reminds me of listening to Leon Redbone. By the time you get to the third tune you're on Redbone time. In the same way Kraft, as the book proceeds, takes control of time in a subtle way. I mean that in two ways I think. You are in another time and you are moving at a different speed."
      Ted Hechtman

"Eric Kraft has written a series of funny, elegiac, whimsical novels.  .  .  . Kraft is a brilliant, clever writer."
      James Bornemeier, Shelter Island Reporter


Little Follies
Herb ’n’ Lorna
Reservations Recommended
Where Do You Stop?
What a Piece of Work I Am
At Home with the Glynns
Leaving Small’s Hotel
Inflating a Dog
Passionate Spectator


Copyright © 2008 by Eric Kraft. All rights reserved. Photographs by Eric Kraft.