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An Excerpt from The Nihilesthete, Book 1 in the Central Park West Trilogy by Richard Kalich

August 23, 2016


The Central Park West Trilogy is part of Amazon’s August promotions and will be available on for £0.99 until the end of the month.

My little shopping spree was not without difficulties. I couldn’t purchase my present ready-made at a store. I had to improvise. I had to purchase a costly art book first and cut out the print reproduction I wanted and then have it enlarged to poster size. After that was accomplished, I had it framed, a plain silver boarder, (quite expensive), and finally I had it gift wrapped. So much trouble for my little one. If only he knew: he is no trouble at all.

You should have seen his reaction. And it was genuine. I’m sure of that. Or should I say I made sure? Not only does this psychologist have his inkblots, but he has his placebo as well. Such things are mandatory in my work. Before giving Brodski his gift, I opened the other. Though it wasn’t actually for him, at the time he couldn’t know that. Mrs. Regina Douglas, our medical social worker, advised me what to get. She said a person suffering from his condition, a cri du chat, would most likely be attracted to the same things as an infant. Something glittering and shiny, preferably an object that moves. I purchased a shiny new egg beater for Mrs. Rivera. And waved it in front of her eyes. The old lady was absolutely gaga at my kindness. But Brodski wasn’t. He showed no response.

His eyes were dead. Then I unwrapped his present. A framed poster-size print of Edvard Munch’s The Scream. Within seconds his face lit up. His eyes opened wide. So wide he looked ridiculous. It was as if at this moment he was seeing the whole world. The room absolutely resounded with mewing sounds. He passed his test with flying colors.

Even Mrs. Rivera was impressed. “I have never see him respond like that,” she said.

To this woman I am fast becoming a benefactor. To Brodski, a philanthropist of the arts. And really, I have no interest in the arts. In anything, “make-belimunch32eve.” Of all the riddles in the world, man’s need for beauty baffles me most. But then, why has it preserved so long? Longer and more durable than governments, dynasties, moralities, civilizations, even religions.

Could I be wrong?

No. Never!”

Central Park West Trilogy includes three novels, The Nihilesthete, Penthouse F and Charlie P, originally published separately and collected for the first time in a single volume.  Post-modern fables, dark, shocking, perversely funny, wickedly astute, and compulsively readable, they share Kalich’s ferocious energy and unique vision. Together, they break down standard notions of plot, character and form a body of work that is distinctive and brilliant. Central Park West Trilogy encapsulates Kalich’s uncompromising examination of the state of modern life, as well as his experimentations with form and language.

The Nihilesthete (first published in 1987 and nominated for a Pen/Faulkner Award, The Hemingway Award, a National Book Award, and Pulitzer Prize) introduces us to Kalich’s dark world, where a spiritually desolate caseworker plays increasingly sadistic games with a limbless, speechless idiot with a painter’s eye.

“One of the most powerfully written books of the decade.” San Francisco Chronicle

Jackie Mallon about the aftermath of the Paris attacks and “A Moveable Feast”

November 23, 2015


We’ll Always Have Paris


It is still difficult to comprehend what happened in Paris last weekend. Tonight as I write this there are reports of terrorist threats on cities as diverse as Brussels and Atlanta. Inside a crowded downtown Manhattan cafe, we hear a police siren and fire truck pass and all of us raise our heads and look to the window. Tomorrow I will go to work near Times Square and I can’t help imagining what if…It’s easy to fall prey to the most crippling fear when the bad guys seem to be maniacally spinning a desktop globe of the world and stopping it randomly, their only strategy of attack apparently pointing to a colored landmass with a dirty fingernail. But we just can’t allow ourselves to get mired down in the headlines… unless the headline is this one:

Hemingway’s Paris Memoir Flies Off Shelves in Show of Defiance

A Moveable Feast, or Paris est une Fête in French, first published in 1964, Hemingway’s gorgeous account of life in Paris during the 1920s, is undergoing a resurgence in popularity across France. orders have increased 50-fold. Copies have been laid alongside the flowers honoring the deceased. Social media movements such as #jesuisenterasse or #everyonettothebistrot call Parisians to continue to get out and live the life that their unique city offers. Everything the book celebrates, and Paris represents, is here in these words of Hemingway’s:“We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.”

Vive la France! I’m with you! Thanks for showing us how it’s done.

Nothing makes the heart sing like the resilience of the human spirit. By maintaining the comforting rituals we enjoy, immersing ourselves in the minutiae of daily life, we will conquer the worst of it.karl-lagerfeld-it-felt-like-there-was-a-black-veil-over-the-city-body-image-1447693364

This LOVE created by Louis Vuitton in the wake of the attacks might arouse the cynicism of those blinkered types who decry it as corporate logoing of a tragedy.

Not me.

Get out and shop, it says. Treat yourself to something nice, something you’ll love forever.

In fact, grab a copy of Hemingway’s fifty-year-old love letter to Paris, put on your most scandalous frock or loudest britches, don a hat, put the Chihuahua in your purse, and set off promenading to the nearest boîte. No, the ostrich boa isn’t too much.

Hats and Cocktails         Fashion Week! 2

I almost moved to the city once but life took me to a neighboring fashion capital instead. But it has always represented my two passions, fashion and literature, and with the two simple gestures mentioned above, Paris has assured me that it will be ok. Better than ok, it will be a feast.


Jackie Mallon, author of Silk for the Feed Dogs

Take a Dip: Literary Greats in Their Bathing Suits

June 12, 2015


Summer is coming!



[Editor’s note: Your devoted Flavorwire team is taking Memorial Day off, but we’ve left you with some of our favorite summer-related features that you may have missed the first time around. This post originally ran June 26, 2011. Enjoy!]

We don’t know about you, but now that it’s officially summertime, we want to spend as much time in our bathing suits as humanly possible, and so, it seems, did many of our favorite writers. After all, even the moodiest of authors needs a little sunshine now and again to chase the pain away. Whether that works or not is a whole other story. Click through for our gallery of literary greats in their bathing suits, but be warned — they’re not all pin-up shots. Sure, Sylvia and Anne are bathing beauties in addition to being quality wordsmiths, but old Ernest looks decidedly doughy around the edges. Oh well…

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