Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9926552-7-3 / E-book ASIN: B00MWY2XWK
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?
Instead of answers, we are given shattered fragments, from which we must try to piece together the whole. Kalich experiments with narrative form and characters, pulling us into a murky place where we are left to wonder: what is the difference between Kalich the author, Kalich the character and Kalich the man? Can we ever know what is going on inside the head of another human being?
Read an excerpt from Central Park West Trilogy
About Richard Kalich
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
“A shocking, chilling fable.” —Seattle Times
“A tour de force… equals the best work of playwright Sam Shepard.” —Columbus Post-Dispatch
“A great black comedy… The names Swift and Kafka are not too lofty to mention here.” —Sunday Oklahoman
“As important and original a novel to have been written by an American author in a generation.” —Mid-American Review
Praise for Penthouse F
“This is an important work that deserves to be read by everyone interested in serious fiction.” —Marc Lowe, The Review of Contemporary Fiction
“[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
“Thrilling and confusing in equal measure, Penthouse F is an important book that dismantles the reader, leaving you in fragmented bits and pieces like the barbed clips that make up the novel’s structure.” —Colin Herd, 3:00AM magazine
“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
“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, literary theorist
“In the strange, sometimes frank ways that Robbe-Grillet and Cooper and Acker approach a kind of lurking moral presence in their work, Kalich too creates something somehow both spiritually clouded and passively demanding: what is going on here, in this business of words, and people? The answer, perhaps both political and existential, whether you agree with one side or the other, operates in the way texts I most often enjoy to get wrapped up in invoke: a door that once opened, is opened, and you can’t get it all the way back shut, try how you must. This is a book, a body of work, an author, deserving a new unearthing eye.” —Blake Butler, HTML Giant
Praise for Charlie P
“Charlie P is energetic, delightfully sardonic, dark without being oppressive, playful and very readable. Richard Kalich has hit a voice that commands attention and allows the reader to endlessly and wittily process cultural hyperbole and inflated newspeak. Charlie P is the urban everyman, the self-regarding and coreless creature of our times. Kalich has captured him through endless reflections down the tunnel of the facing mirrors. One reads and reads and smiles. Charlie P captures the note of our late modern times.” —Sven Birkerts
“With his continuous comic exaggeration, Kalich is able to describe, highly uniquely, the overwhelming, vertiginous, risky sensation of being alive.” —American Book Review
“Like most good comic novelists, Kalich is adept at teetering on the precipice wherein he might decide to dilute the fun with the grim, creating that suspense where things might get really bad at any moment.” —Rain Taxi Review of Books
“[Kalich is] after what it means to be profoundly out of step with one’s culture yet still unwilling to let go of the American dream. And this tension between dream and reality makes Charlie P a deliciously painful book.” —Bookforum
“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.” —Review of Contemporary Fiction
“Speaks with a singular honesty, power and eloquence about our spiritually diminished modern world.” —Mid-American Review