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Daniel Keyes, author, dead at 86

Daniel Keyes - The Early Years
Daniel Keyes - The Early Years
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“That’s the thing about human life—there is no control group, no way to ever know how any of us would have turned out if any variables had been changed”—Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon

Daniel Keyes, the man who wrote these prolific words, has died. He passed away at his home in South Florida on June 15, 2012, Father’s Day. His daughter said that death was caused by complications from pneumonia. The death was reported by on June 18, 2014. Daniel Keyes was 86 years old at the time of his death.

His best known work, Flowers for Algernon, was first published in 1959. It’s the story of a man whose IQ was only 68. His is a story of inspiration striking in the most unusual places. He was waiting for a train. He began to wonder if a person’s intelligence could be raised. This was the beginning of a 15 year journey that led to his most profound work. New York Times book reviewer, Eliot Fremont-Smith, called the formatting of the book, “a technician’s maze, a collection of nasty little challenges for a writer of fiction”.

Daniel Keyes earned in Bachelor’s degree in Psychology after finishing a stint in the U.S. Maritime Service. In his life he was a fiction editor, a fashion photographer, and an English teacher where he earned his tenure.

Most of his work has been in the area of intellect and the problems of the mind. His book concerning Billy Milligan is the true story of a man with multiple personalities that committed murder as one of his alternatives. Daniel Keyes was fascinated with the mind and the way the mind works. His life was diverse and full of adventures into the thoughts and intellect of others.