CENTRAL PARK WEST TRILOGY
Central Park West Trilogy is destined to become a cult classic, pressed into the hands of friends with a promise, “You’ve never read anything like this before.”
To read Richard Kalich is to be plunged into an uncompromising world, to be exposed to dark deeds and strange thoughts, to be challenged.
The novels collected here tug at our concepts of civility, identity, truth and art. They are postmodern fables; dark, shocking, funny, astute, and compulsively readable. They share a ferocious energy and break down standard notions of plot and character to form a body of work that is distinctive. They are unsettling books, relentless in their demands on the reader – who must pay attention, question the narrator, and stare unflinching at the nightmarish visions unfolding before him or her.
The works are written to provoke; the reader may want to recoil and turn away, and yet find themselves caught up in the galloping pace of the plot. But there is also room for laughter, to find humour in the outlandish adventures of Charlie P in particular. Unsurprisingly, the humour is often a perverse, provocative kind.
Kalich doesn’t want his readers getting too comfortable. As he would surely say, what is the value of a book that doesn’t question cosy notions of what it is to be human, to be civilised, to be cultured?
Praise for The Nihilesthete
“One of the most powerfully written books of the decade.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“A brilliant, hammer-hitting, lights-out novel.” —Los Angeles Times
“As important and original a novel to have been written by an American author in a generation.” —Mid-American Review
Praise for Penthouse F
“Penthouse F is akin to the best work of Paul Auster in terms of its readability without sacrificing its intelligence of experiment. […] Kalich delivers afresh, relevant, and enticingly readable work of metafiction.” —American Book Review
“Ghosts haunt this book from first page to last: Dostoevsky, Mallarmé, Kafka, Mann, Camus, Pessoa, Gombrowicz–and, oh yes, most perniciously of all, “Kalich.” For he is a man who tortures himself both with the novels he has written and with those he has not.” —Warren Motte, World Literature Today
“If one of the great European intransigents of the last century – say, Franz Kafka or Georges Bataille or Witold Gombrowicz – were around to write a novel about our era of reality TV and the precession of simulacra, the era of Big Brother and The Real World, what would it look like? Well, it might look like Richard Kalich’s Penthouse F.” — Brian McHale
Praise for Charlie P
“Charlie P is energetic, delightfully sardonic, dark without being oppressive, playful and very readable. [...] One reads and reads and smiles. Charlie P captures the note of our late modern times.” —Sven Birkerts
“I would rather that the familiar be embraced and the novel resonate beyond itself and intone the spheres of Plato and Beckett. Charlie P resonates.” —The Review of Contemporary Fiction