While the novels in this selection are very different, they meet the common standards of literary art, appeal, timelessness, and influence, and deserve lasting recognition. They have the universal appeal of a classic; they are informed by the history of ideas and literature, and will no doubt stand the test of time and inspire writers who will come afterwards.
This edition includes three novels, The Nihilesthete, Penthouse F and Charlie P., originally published separately and collected for the first time in a single volume. Postmodern 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 and character, forming 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.
“Ghosts haunt this book from first page to last: Dostoevsky, Mallarme, 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. Let us forgive him even if he will not forgive himself, recognizing as we do the one truth of this tale that seems to be beyond doubt: “It was all in his head like everything else about him.” —Warren Motte, World Literature Today
In this pulsing, provocative, visionary work, O’Sullivan couples his usual lyrical fervor with a philosophical acuity to present before us a trembling world that may not be too far away. Bold, risk-taking, wildly ambitious, formally daring, often a mix of the comic and macabre, it is marvellously inventive, full of wordplay and literary trickery. An absurd existential novel, a political satire, and a cautionary tale about what may lie ahead, it is a book for our times and a book that will stand the test of time, too.
“Colin O’Sullivan’s writing is an antic, mordant and perverse plunge into strange and unnerving worlds.” —Colin Barrett
Finalist for the Edgar®, Anthony, Gumshoe, and CrimeSpree, and Saint-Maur en Poche Awards, Head Games is a black comedy and wistful ballad of lost America, rooted in borderland myth and history.
“Reading Craig McDonald’s Head Games was like reliving those wonderful and exciting, tequila-fired weekend border-town tours of my youth in the ’50’s. A different character, vivid and lively, waiting around every new corner of the artfully twisted plot. The time and place are captured perfectly, and story never falters as it dashes to the surprising ending.” —James Crumley
“Craig McDonald, a genuine expert on the history of crime fiction, gives free rein to all his obsessions in a novel that’s a berserk 1957-based caper running roughshod through the politics and pop culture of the latter half of the 20th century. …Strap in, hold on, enjoy the ride.” —San Francisco Chronicle