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Posts tagged ‘Central Park West Trilogy’

Richard Kalich acknowledged as an notable postmodernist author

March 14, 2018

BetimesBooksNow

Do you know the difference between Modernism and Postmodernism in literature?

This Pediaa.com article gives a clear definition of each movement and, importantly, mentions Richard Kalich, author of The Nihilesthete, Charlie P., and Penthouse F, published as Central Park West Trilogy by Betimes Books, as one of the notable postmodernist writers, along with “household” names like Nabokov, Eco, Auster, and Vonneghut:

What is Postmodernism

Postmodernism was a reaction against modernism, brought about by the disillusionment followed by the Second world war. Postmodernism is characterized by the deliberate use of earlier styles and conventions, a mixing of different artistic styles and media, and a general distrust of theories. It can be seen as a radical break from modernism when we look at some unique features of postmodernism. Some of these features include,

Irony and parody: Postmodernism works are often characterized by irony and satire. They demonstrate playful, mischievous vibe and a love of satirical humor.Pastiche: Copying ideas and styles from various authors and combining them to make a new style.

Metafiction: Making the readers aware that of the fictional nature of the text they are reading.

Intertextuality: Acknowledging other texts and referring to them in a text.

Faction: Mixing of actual events and fictional events without mentioning what is real and what is fictional.

Paranoia: The distrust in the system and even the distrust of the self.

Some notable writers in postmodernism include  Vladimir Nabokov,  Umberto Eco, John Hawkes,  RICHARD KALICH, Giannina Braschi, Kurt Vonnegut, William Gaddis,  John Barth, Jean Rhys, Donald Barthelme, E.L. Doctorow,  Don DeLillo, Ana Lydia Vega, Jachym Topol and Paul Auster.

Full article here: http://pediaa.com/difference-between-modernism-and-postmodernism-in-literature/

Christmas nostalgia : Our authors about the best book gift they have ever received (Part 3)

December 14, 2017

BetimesBooksNow

Hadley Colt, author of Permanent Fatal Error and The Red-Handed League

Forget Nancy Drew: Peter O’Donnell’s Modesty Blaise was my Christmas-gift light-bulb moment of finding a thriller series with a strong female lead, and inspiring my own heroine-driven novels for Betimes Books.

Colin O’Sullivan, author of Killarney Blues and The Starved Lover Sings

This is a big shout-out to my relatives back in Kerry who spoil me and my family in Japan at every Christmas and on birthdays. One of my favourites was a lovely edition of Possessed of a Past: A John Banville Reader, which my benevolent cousin, Martina, also got signed by the great writer. I’ve been a Banville admirer since first reading The Book of Evidence in 1989, and this anthology is a wonderful volume to occasionally dip into and savour the superb stylings of an Irish prose master.

Sam Hawken, author of La Frontera

Sam HawkenEasily the best book gift I ever received was for Christmas in the mid-‘90s, when my girlfriend at the time gave me a copy of a first edition Ace paperback (1970) of Swords and Deviltry, signed by the late Fritz Leiber himself. What a treasure!

Richard Kalich, author of Central Park West Trilogy

The first US edition of Albert Camus’ The Fall (published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1957) given to me on no particular occasion by my twin brother. He bought it with his gambling winnings…

 

An Excerpt from Charlie P, Book 3 in Central Park West Trilogy by Richard Kalich

August 29, 2016

BetimesBooksNow


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.

Charlie P (first published 2005) dispenses with a conventional narrative altogether, as we follow the comic misadventures of a singularly unique, comic and outlandish Everyman. At age three, when his father dies, he decides to overcome mortality by becoming immortal: by not living his life, he will live forever. Akin to other great American icons such as Sinclair Lewis’s Babbit and Forrest Gump, Charlie P, while asocial and alienated, is, at the same time, at the heart of the American dream.

“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


“Immortality

Once and for all, at age three, when Charlie P’s father died after having given him the most special birthday present of his young life, Lionel Electric Trains, Charlie P decided to live forever rather than suffer the indignity of mortality. Under no circumstances would he allow death to interfere with his daily regimen from this time on.

Though still a babe in his mother’s arms, certainly not to be misconstrued a late bloomer, Charlie P had already given the matter much thought; in fact, thought of nothing else. His father’s premature death presaged even more ominous events to come. Living forever, immortality, was indeed the only sure defense against this constant gnawing fear of the worst.

Given the nature of child consciousness, the global, diffuse, undifferentiated way it cognizes the world, its lack of specificity and discernment, it didn’t take Charlie P long to transfer the dread of his father’s loss on to his most prized possession, the electric trains, and especially the little train-master responsible for routing the train’s safe passage.

Charlie P focused all his life’s blood and energy on that little man. More than anything, he wanted the trainmaster to continue doing his job uninterrupted forever. Easier said than done: Immortality. There are less difficult things to accomplish in this world. Charlie P’s main challenge was to keep the trainmaster out of harm’s way. More specifically, to keep the little man sitting safely and securely at his table in the stationmaster’s house, ever on the ready to be called to duty. What would happen if the little man took ill? Succumbed to his father’s fate? What would happen if the battery that energized the light bulb on top of the house’s door whenever the trains approached, signaling the trainmaster to stand and leave his shelter and go about performing his duties, failed to light? Charlie P lived with the chronic fear that just this eventuality would happen. That one day the battery would die.

But how to prevent such a catastrophe? That was the question: Should he obtain an additional set of electric trains? Seek out an as yet unbeknownst elixir of life? Place the little man on a health food diet with vitamin supplements? Discover the secrets of the aging process? Or should he himself control the trains’ speeds, alter their paths, negotiate new routes, take other means of transportation—no, boats, planes, automobiles were subject to the same laws of chance and risk, gravity and motion, as trains; those unfortunates taking them could sink, crash and burn. And even though mourned for a short while after their demise, ultimately, like his father, they would soon be forgotten as the years passed by. No. Charlie P’s answer was not to play the game. By not using up the battery, the trainmaster could go on sitting safely in his house—be at Charlie P’s beck and call forever. By denying himself pleasure now, by abrogating what he most looked forward to while playing with his trains, by not having the little man do his duty, perform his chores, even though it was his favorite moment in all the world, the precursor, causal link and catalyst to his trains riding through peaks and valleys, across bridges and over hills, high on steppes and low beneath mountains, during which, needless to say, everything around them was fraught with danger, subject to the aleatory whims of chance, when the battery sooner or later would run out, when, like his father, the trainmaster sooner or later would succumb to his fate—No. Pleasure and joy, fun and games, intoxication and bliss, were a small price to pay for immortality.

And so Charlie P played the game by not playing it. Bestowed eternal everlasting life on the trainmaster.

Once and for all, at age three, Charlie P decided that by not playing the game, by not living his life, unlike his father, like the trainmaster, he could, he would, live forever.”


The Central Park West Trilogy is part of Amazon.co.uk‘s August promotions and will be available to buy for £0.99 until the start of September. 

RK portrait with view of CPW-page-001.jpg

An Excerpt from Penthouse F, Book 2 in the Central Park West Trilogy by Richard Kalich

August 25, 2016

BetimesBooksNow

Central Park West Trilogy is under promotion at Amazon.co.uk and the e-book will be available for the fantastic price of £0.99 until the end of August. Don’t miss your chance to discover Richard Kalich’s outstanding work practically for free.


056a6d014a626317878a4fa3e4632568“- You noticed Mr. Kalich and the young woman as soon as they entered the women’s area on the second floor.

The sales rep nods his head.

– Why was that?

– A young woman and a mature gentleman always catch my eye. I guess it’s my salesman’s instinct. The old ones always spend more.

– And that’s what happened on this occasion?

– As soon as the young woman asked to try on our white Juliet dress displayed on the cover page of our fall brochure, I knew he was a goner.

– The brochure with the Romeo and Juliet thematic logo?

– That’s the one.

– What do you mean when you say: Mr. Kalich was a goner?

– Actually it was the way both of them looked.

– Both of them?

– Well, when Mr. Kalich first saw the young woman in the white dress, he just stood there as if mesmerized.

– And the young woman?

– She was absolutely beautiful. Radiant. But to be more accurate, she didn’t so much come out of the dressing room as peeked out. Her face flushed as if embarrassed.

– Why was she embarrassed?

– I’ve seen that look before. The young woman’s at that awkward age, half woman, half girl. I would bet anything she was asking herself those questions young girls always ask: Do I belong here? Is this really me? You know–am I a woman or still a girl?

– And Mr. Kalich. Can you elaborate further on how he reacted when seeing the young woman first peek out of the dressing room?

– He immediately purchased the dress. I had the impression no expense would have been too great for him.

– Did you notice anything else about Mr. Kalich and the young girl?

– Well, she gave him a thank you kiss. Just a peck on the cheek, really.

– Was Mr. Kalich disappointed?

– I wouldn’t say that. At least at the time I didn’t think so. But a little later I changed my mind.

– What made you change your mind?

– A customer standing nearby, an elegant lady, made a comment to Mr. Kalich saying: “You have a beautiful daughter.”

– And how did Mr. Kalich react to the elegant lady’s comment: “You have a beautiful daughter?”

– It was an awkward moment to say the least. But somehow he managed a polite smile and thank you. But anyone could see it was a forced smile.

– Did you notice anything else about Mr. Kalich after the elegant lady’s comment?

– Despite my rushing him away from the scene of the crime, so to speak, after paying for the dress he left the store in a huff.

– And the girl?

– She followed after him, poor thing, like a naughty child with her fingers caught in the cookie jar.

– You’re not exaggerating?

– No, not at all. It doesn’t take much more than that to break the spell. That’s why we salesmen have to be constantly on guard against eventualities like that.

Picture09-page-001.jpg– And this time you were not?

– I guess not. The woman caught me offguard. I must have been staring at the young girl as much as Mr. Kalich. As the brochure suggests. Romeo and Juliet. It’s all illusion. Magic, you know. For those few seconds when the girl made her entrance out of the dressing room wearing the white dress, who can say what was in the old man’s mind.

– I take it not like a doting father.

– More like a Romeo who had found his Juliet. 

As if to validate, if only to himself, the sales rep nods his head.”


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.

Penthouse F (first published 2010) is a cautionary tale that takes the form of an inquiry into the suicide—or murder?—of a young boy and girl in the Manhattan penthouse of a writer named Richard Kalich. Blurring the lines between reality and fantasy, kindness and cruelty, love and obsession, guilt and responsibility, writer and character, Penthouse F is a critical examination of our increasingly voyeuristic society.

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

 

An unmissable book at an unbeatable price

August 9, 2016

BetimesBooksNow

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Bring New York on holidays with you with this August promotion of Richard Kalich‘s Central Park West Trilogy : it’s only £0.99 on Amazon UK until the end of the month!

***

– So we are going to do this like a courtroom drama, or an interrogation?

– Yes. We are. We are indeed.

– Why?

– Because most of the book is done in that style.

–  I see. Was the book impressive?

– Yes, very impressive. Mr. Kalich is a great writer.

– And he appears in the book too?

– Yes, if it really is him, if you know what I mean…you can call the book postmodern, or that he uses meta-narratives or…RK on his terrace with view-page-001

– That all sounds a bit confusing.

– In theory yes, but it’s a very entertaining book. Says a lot about writing. And the creative process. It’s playful, but not flippant. We’re dealing with a serious artist here.

– Oh, really?

***

Read the full review of Penthouse F, one of the novels in Central Park West Trilogy, on Colin O’Sullivan’s blog.

***

Cover image and art © Bernard Piga

Interview with Richard Kalich in AM FM Magazine

March 3, 2016

BetimesBooksNow

“High Art can of course be found in all the disciplines, music, painting, all creative writing, film, etc.  For me…all that I define as High Art has but one categorical imperative.  It makes as its inherent demand and calling that we, as humans, stand before it and surrender ourselves wholly and completely to it.  It doesn’t happen often, but when it does:  That’s Art.”   –Richard Kalich

Full text here: On the Fecundity of the Unconsciousness as Inspiration

If you haven’t read Richard Kalich yet, this should convince you to start

September 10, 2015

BetimesBooksNow

An American Master *****

Richard Kalich is an American novelist who creates brilliant and accomplished works of fiction that deal with themes of cruelty and obsession . Although Kalich’s work is informed by the earlier works of the European avant garde, his exploration of the current era is as American and up-to-date as the latest episode of the Kardashian’s. The three novels, gathered in one volume by Betimes Books, are each unique, enthralling, and spiked with dark humor. Together they illustrate Kalich’s scope and power as novelist and cultural interpreter.

Acknowledged to be Kalich’s Masterpiece, ‘The Nihilesthete’, is told in linear style and the form is that of a conventional novel. The story concerns the twisted power games of Haberman, a long time social worker who once had creative ambitions. When Haberman meets the spectacularly handicapped Brodski, a welfare recipient who has no arms and no legs and can only communicate in cat language, he becomes obsessed with gaining control of the helpless young man.

‘Penthouse F’ is an exercise in meta-fiction that should be read as a companion piece to ‘The Nihilesthete.’ Blocked author, Richard Kalich, is accused of encouraging a young couple to commit suicide. During an interrogation we learn that Kalich, like Haberman, is an ex-social worker with a penchant for sadistic games. The line between reality and fiction is blurred and the reader is allowed to draw his own conclusions.

‘Charlie P’ is an outlandish and absurd tale that is told with humor and playfulness. Charlie is a deeply alienated man who lives in a dream world and deliberately refuses to distinguish fantasy from reality. The reader enters Charlie’s mind and experiences his misadventures while slowly realizing that Charlie is not so different from the rest of us.

This review is for Central Park West Trilogy: The Nihilesthete, Penthouse F, Charlie :

http://www.amazon.com/review/R3QGEHJ4547GUS/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00MWY2XWK&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=133140011&store=digital-text

Richard Kalich: How I Write

April 28, 2015

BetimesBooksNow

I don’t have a method but… and it’s a big ‘but’… I can speak of a pattern that has repeated itself with all four of my novels. And the same will be true with my next. I see my novels metaphorically. By that I mean an image comes to me… and that image, that poetic metaphoric image, contains all I need to know about the fiction to follow. The image is always (to me) more than just an image. Not only does it give me the beginning, middle and end of the narrative, but it also suggests a fundamental elemental universal of our world. I don’t mean to suggest the demonic/divine illumination of the 18th or 19th century novelists, nor do I want to glorify or romanticize the artistic process, but this is what I’ve experienced as a Writer.

If pressed, I would say this metaphoric image is a gift; some poets have it, I’m told.  Where it comes from… who knows? I call it… the fecundity of the unconscious.

My particular unconscious showing me the way: Before words or thought or deliberation or calculation that which lies deepest inside me articulates itself with this image. Once it appears I allow it – or it allows me – to form, shape, edit and refine itself over a gestation period that can last two to twenty years. The image never leaves me.  And though as a Writer and person I evolve and change, recreate myself and the forms I might make use of as a novelist, the first image, the central image… stays the same. I’ll give you an example. The day I finished my novel The Nihilesthete an image came to me of a man hovering over a surveillance camera while hiding in his closet, spying on a boy and girl. It only took me twenty-plus years to find the courage to write that novel now titled Penthouse F.

Richard Kalich is the author of CENTRAL PARK WEST TRILOGY, including The Nihilesthete, Charlie P, and Penthouse F.

Review of Richard Kalich’s Penthouse F

March 7, 2015

BetimesBooksNow

Colin O’Sullivan about PENTHOUSE-F by Richard Kalich

Colin O' Sullivan

– So we are going to do this like a courtroom drama, or an interrogation?

– Yes. We are. We are indeed.

– Why?

– Because most of the book is done in that style.

–  I see. Was the book impressive?

– Yes, very impressive. Mr. Kalich is a great writer.

– And he appears in the book too?

– Yes, if it really is him, if you know what I mean…you can call the book postmodern, or that he uses meta-narratives or…

– That all sounds a bit confusing.

– In theory yes, but it’s a very entertaining book. Says a lot about writing. And the creative process. It’s playful, but not flippant. We’re dealing with a serious artist here.

– Oh, really?

– “He’s an idiot. So disconnected . . . conflicted . . . torn apart.”

– What?

– Just joking. That’s actually a quote from the book. He often sidesteps you like that. Reminds you of…

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Anti-Valentine! Excerpt from CHARLIE P by Richard Kalich

February 14, 2015

BetimesBooksNow

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From the chapter “The young harpist”

At age fifty-seven Charlie P fell in love with a twenty year-old Bulgarian harpist entering Juilliard on scholarship. Besides being young and beautiful, she came from a good family, too. Her mother not only taught ethics at the university, but practiced what she preached. Her father discovered the cure for cancer. Her grandfather assassinated both Hitler and Stalin, and what makes these deeds even more remarkable is that he accomplished them before the War. It has been thirty-three years since Charlie P had last been in love. And now this. How lucky could he get. Miracle of miracles. Wonder of wonders. Charlie P never thought it would happen to him again.

On their first meeting, Charlie P wanted to buy the young woman the world. And with an outpouring of generosity that the world has rarely seen, he bought the young woman all of Manhattan as well as the Brooklyn Bridge. And in the wee hours he sneaked off with her to Paris and brought back the Eiffel Tower, too. At the date’s end, for his generosity and kindness, the young woman told him she loved him. But when Charlie P leaned his head forward and pursed his lips, all she gave him was a peck on the cheek. It’s only to be expected, said Charlie P. What else could an old man like myself expect from such a young and beautiful girl. Who comes from a good family, too.

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From the chapter “Love is war”

What if the love of his life is not all he made her out to be? What if only for a fleeting second Charlie P opens his eyes and can see?

Celtic_Harp_Stock_2_by_Harpist_Stock

 

From the chapter “Do you know the difference…?”

“Do you know the difference between an artist and a businessman?” said Charlie P in one of his many arguments with the young harpist. “I’ll tell you.”

“A businessman is interested in power, lives for power, first and always is power, he’s a power monger. No amount of money or power is enough for him. Only those things tangible and palpable, of flesh and blood reality, those things he can touch, smell, see and hear, interest him. To obtain those things he instrumentalizes and manipulates the world. Accumulation, more and more is his sole aim and credo. His raison d’être and clarion call.”

Charlie P pauses for a deep breath. When he continued his voice had changed noticeably.

“The artist on the other hand pursues truth and meaning, and the making of all things beautiful. He has no use for the tangible and the palpable. The functional and the material. He’s sensitive and delicate and cannot pass a glowing sun or a pale moon or a patch of cloud or a sheet of rain without stopping to gaze in awe and wonder. He lives in the clouds with only the starry constellations spinning in his head.”

“Just as I thought,” said the young harpist. “I know the difference.”

“You do?”

“Yes. And I prefer the businessman.”

 

Colin O’Sullivan’s review of THE NIHILESTHETE by Richard Kalich

February 4, 2015

BetimesBooksNow

Colin O' Sullivan

Review of The Nihilesthete, by Richard Kalich (Betimes Books)

When social-worker Haberman finds a limbless wheelchair-bound man observing a street artist, it’s as if all his birthdays have come at once. He can now set about the task that he may always have been destined for, to take this unfortunate victim under his monstrous wing and systematically abuse him (mentally and spiritually) until he is somehow sated.

 

Why does he do this? What unfortunate events in his past have compelled him to carry out such atrocities? Wrong question. It’s like asking how Winnie got buried in sand in Beckett’s “Happy Days”: the fact is that she just happens to be buried in sand; the fact is that Haberman just happens to be this way, like Simenon’s Frank Friedermaier in Dirty Snow perhaps, bad to the bone. Those looking for easy armchair-psychology rationalizations have come to the wrong anti-hero.

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Richard Kalich’s interview on Books Go Social

January 15, 2015

BetimesBooksNow

“I’m not completely nihilistic. I believe that as long as we can still ask questions about the meaning of it all, there’s hope for an authentic life.”

Richard Kalich in conversation with Lucy Sweeny Byrne on Books Go Social http://buff.ly/1Abb7VC

RK on his terrace with view-page-001

“CENTRAL PARK WEST TRILOGY is not your average novel.”

January 1, 2015

BetimesBooksNow

“…wrought with dark humour and a multitude of literary, philosophical and psychological references. The trilogy is an essential read for anyone who enjoys a challenge: predictable neither in content nor in form, CENTRAL PARK WEST TRILOGY is not your average novel.”

Full review here: http://www.palatinate.org.uk/?p=52129

Richard Kalich’s book is on promotion in the UK and Australia. Don’t miss it!
getBook.at/CentralParkWest

Richard Kalich: “I see the world metaphorically.”

December 23, 2014

BetimesBooksNow

Richard Kalich in conversation with Lucy Sweeney Byrne

It is clear, when talking to Richard Kalich today, that he is a novelist whom, once you hear of him, you wonder to yourself how you haven’t heard his name before. He is not a writer one would describe as prolific. He has endured writer’s block and the terror of creative writing for a sustaining portion of his life. As he says, he’s read too much and knows all too well the standards his work will be held up against. A daunting task, he says, when your first literary Gods were no less than Dostoyevsky and Thomas Mann. This understandably has held his output down. Having said that, the works he has produced over the years, have been of exceptional quality, as is reflected in the recognition he has received from the academic and literary elite. Kalich has won The American Book Award and has been nominated for both a National Book Award and The Pulitzer, and his writing, in its daring experimentalism, surreal absurdism, and especially because of the dark demonic depths he has mined of the human interior, has been favourably compared to writers such as Kafka and Beckett. Needless to say, this is no lightweight author we’re dealing with.

I talk to Richard (he prefers to be called Dick), and almost immediately I grasp that he’s exactly what you would expect when one thinks a New York literary writer, an avant-garde post-modern novelist—and then some. Kalich is opinionated, quick-witted, funny, and simply brimming over with all of the things he has to say about the spiritual impoverishment of our contemporary age. We discuss, among other meandering subjects, the death of the word, the loss of Transcendence, the diminishment of the Self, artistic inspiration, films and musicals, and, of course, the release of his current most recent publication, Central Park West Trilogy (2014), a collection of three of his critically-acclaimed novels; The Nihilesthete (1987), Charlie P (2005) and Penthouse F (2010).

 

LSB: The first question I pose to Kalich, is an attempt to create a tidy summary of his writing (silly me). I say that his novels (there are four in all – added to those collected in the Trilogy is The Zoo, published in 2001) have been described by critics as ‘postmodern fables’, suggesting, by definition, that they are designed to convey a particular moral. Does he consider this a fair conception of his work? And if so, what is the moral message he is attempting to convey?

RK: No, I don’t think it’s correct to define my writing as fables. There are themes, yes, but I’m not trying to offer some categorical cure-it-all to the problematic situation of Man. I’m neither theologian nor a politician. My concern in my first novel, The Zoo, was loss of inner life. After long years of writer’s block, the novel just exploded out of me. Thirty days. All too quickly to really do it justice. With my second novel, The Nihilesthete, I was taken by the spiritual diminishment and the all-pervasive powerlessness that I felt was taking over our culture which in turn prevented and inverted my lead character’s full expression. Such is the motive-force behind the almost banal, cerebralized cruelties he harbours upon his arch-enemy, the artist, Brodski. The artist, of course, representing spiritual fecundity. The novels themselves are metaphorical. I see the world metaphorically. The first thing that happens, is that I see an image in my mind. This image is the epicentre of what I build my narrative around. It provides the beginning, middle and end for my story. The image just comes to me. It’s a sort of poetic gift. I’m told some Poets see the world like this. For example, with The Nihilesthete I saw a limbless being strapped to a wheelchair, a prosthesis attached to his arm stub which served as a hand, struggling to paint on a canvas held just out of his reach by an ominous male figure. The image gestated in me for a long time, five years, before I finally found the courage to write the book.

LSB: Why is that?

RK: Fear. Dread. The Terror of Creation. More specifically, for me it’s always been the fear of judgement. Dostoevsky or nothing. I carried that burden with me the better part of my entire adult life.

LSB: But why so hard on yourself? You never outgrew it?

Read the full interview here: Kalich interview full text

 

Richard Kalich’s Central Park West Trilogy, including The Nihilesthete, Penthouse F and Charlie P, is available for purchase here: getBook.at/CentralParkWest (currently on promotion on Amazon UK and Amazon Australia)

Excerpt from GIFTS: Bittersweet Christmas Stories by Richard Kalich

November 28, 2014

BetimesBooksNow

From “The Party” by Richard Kalich:

“The entire affair was catered by the world’s greatest chefs, and platters of sumptuous foods were served by geishas in kimonos and men in black. Champagne flowed like April rain. Every guest was given a token of appreciation for not attending, diamonds and gold; and for those who didn’t wear jewellery, thinking it ostentatious, Picassos from the Blue period. And the entertainment was world class. From the Three Tenors, Nureyev and Fontaine, to rappers and hip-hop. From chart-breakers and the current pop, to has-beens and never-was’s. Fireworks lit up the night sky before, during and after the party. Needless to say, there was something for everybody. For every taste and desire imaginable.”

 

CHRISTMAS OFFER!

Read or download GIFTS for free here: http://bit.ly/1racUfN
Buy a collector edition here: http://viewbook.at/ChristmasGifts
Or get an e-book here: http://viewbook.at/ChristmasGiftsKindle

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A new review of Central Park West Trilogy!

October 14, 2014

BetimesBooksNow

“Looking at the collection as a whole, Central Park West Trilogy is a stimulating glimpse into Kalich’s unusual approach to his art and his craft, as well as his unique approach to the absurdities of life. I think Albert Camus would have approved.” — Lee Harrison

Point Blank

Sometime in the ’90s I acquired a strange little book called The Nihilesthete by Richard Kalich:

Not only was the cover artwork strange, but the format of the book was peculiar, being of unusually small dimensions and filled with 143 pages of tiny print on cheap paper. This was an edition published by Compac Reader Group and could be found at check-out stands of various stores, alongside gum, Slim Jims and the Weekly World News. The publishing outfit had other titles too, each small enough to fit in a shirt pocket. I don’t know if they are still around or not, but it’s been years since I’ve seen that sort of format. I don’t think that was the edition in which The Nihilesthete was originally published, but that’s the one I have.

Anyway, I didn’t read The Nihilesthete for many years and it was only when I re-discovered it…

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Richard Kalich and Bernard Piga: a Writer and a Painter

September 27, 2014

BetimesBooksNow

When we were designing the cover for “Central Park West Trilogy” with JT Lindroos, we were looking for a work of art that wouldn’t simply ‘illustrate’ the title but mirror Richard Kalich’s writing and vision. And we have found more than just one work of art: we have found the Painter. Bernard Piga’s expressionist paintings could have been inspired by Richard Kalich’s metafictions. The two artists have never met, and such an encounter is now impossible in the physical realm (Piga left us in 2008), but we are happy to have contributed to a spiritual reunion of a great Writer and a great Painter. To discover and re-discover.

More of Bernard Piga’s works: http://www.bernard-piga.com/natures.htm

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“The Nihilesthete”. Excerpt from the first novel of “Central Park West Trilogy” by Richard Kalich

September 26, 2014

BetimesBooksNow

“My studio apartment has all the features of an artist’s garret now. Everything careless, lackadaisical and purposefully strewn about. The only thing missing is the proverbial skylight, but I do have bay windows and a park view. Still, Montparnasse it’s not. There are canvases everywhere: rolls of canvas, stretched canvas, some stretched and mounted on canvas boards. Also a dozen paintbrushes, round and flat and long, and even more tubes of paint in all colours; Payne’s gray, burnt sienna, burnt umber, viridian, sepia, zinc white, Naples yellow, cobalt blue, yellow ochre, thalo green, venetian red. And an artist’s smock and easel, and roto tray, and turntable, and palette. Everything and anything that goes into an artist’s studio is here, plus all of Brodski’s own special equipment.

The little fellow doesn’t know what to make of it. He peers open-mouthed as I strap him to his artist’s chair—the relaxation chair with nineteen different seating positions and seventy more for the upper body—and commence attaching his arm and hand prosthesis. The occupational therapist I employed has taught me well and I know how to use each piece of equipment as well as how to staple the stretched canvas tightly to the canvas board so it won’t ripple. When he is seated at his workplace (easel) with the canvas before him and rivulets of paint already squeezed out on his plate positioner (palette), I say: PAINT.

He looks at me, at the canvas, at his surrounding, dumbfounded. Not paralyzed, but stricken in another way. As if in limbo. As if groping to understand, to come to terms with what lies before him. I am tempted to help him. It would be such a simple matter for me to demonstrate how to “finger” the paintbrush with his table writer, or, for more exact control, his pencil holder; how to, with what for him would amount to a Promethean effort, touch the canvas with his brush. But I do not. It wouldn’t be fair. The rules of the game do not permit it. The first stroke must be done by him. The discovery has to be his. The miracle must come from him alone. To be godlike, one has to create his own world. It is enough for me (now) to show him the way.

We sit there five, ten, twenty minutes; an hour passes, two. I do not say anything. Do not coax him on. Not so much as a word or hint passes from my lips. Absolute silence pervades the room. Then: he begins to move. Slowly at first, with imperceptible little stirrings of his body, followed by epileptic twitchings and wrigglings of his arms and hands.

What’s this? He’s stretching-reaching-picking up the paintbrush lying on the plate positioner in a glass cup, just begging for his use. He’s dipping it in a glob of paint. He’s . . . He’s . . . HE’S PAINTING!!! His first stroke is slow, halting, tenuous, as if a spanked child were reaching out for the object that caused him harm. He looks enthralled—no, terrified.

After his first stroke he jerks back; his paint brush drops from his utensil holder against the glass cup and pan holding the other brushes and tubes of paint, and the entire collection as well as the roto tray spills to the floor. He doesn’t even notice. Awestruck, he just continues to stare at the canvas. At a gashed slightly less than linear violet smudge: HE MADE!

A tiny wet spot wells up in his eye. A soft voluptuous half sigh, half groan, and then more tears, a sound that emanates from deep inside him, an indistinct murmur, a shriek, an ecstatic outcry, a crescendo of uncontrollable and involuntary body-racking shakes and sobs. He is crying. Really crying! Not his usual “cri du chat”; but crying like us. Like we humans do.

A half hour passes before he is able to start up again. This time by trial and error, each dip and dab of his brush reminiscent of a naked hand in a fire struggling to save a beloved object. After each new impression, he stops haltingly to examine it. Not for aesthetic reasons. He has no concern for that now. But for the sheer effect of it. The impression he is making on the canvas. ON THE WORLD! It is the first time he has ever been able to affect the world. Make his mark. HE IS PUTTING HIS STAMP ON THE WORLD!!!

After maybe another minute or two he falls back exhausted. I push his chair away from the canvas and together we look upon his creation. Grazing my hand ever so slightly on his utensil holder, as if touching the finger of God, I begin to cry. We begin to laugh and cry together. We stay there in tableau like that, both crying and laughing, the rest of the night.”

 

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Painter’s Studio © Bernard Piga

Electronic Book Review about Charlie P (CENTRAL PARK WEST TRILOGY)

September 11, 2014

BetimesBooksNow

About Charlie P, one of the novels in CENTRAL PARK WEST TRILOGY by Richard Kalich:

“There is little that resembles a plot, nor is there the kinds of tensions elicited by the more ‘conventional’ novel. Yet there is still a world, consistent in its inconsistency, and in that world a life, however unlived. In effect, Charlie P simultaneously asks how little is too little, and how much is too much, to create a coherent, believable narrative.

Charlie P is a carefully wrought novel with a deft sense of humor and a strong awareness of its place in literary discourse. With each answer it prompts new questions; with each added detail, it destabilizes certainty. For all that, readers must have temerity, curiosity and the ability to build on constantly shifting ground – or a willingness to subject themselves to the elements of the indeterminate and the multiple.

Though it is widely agreed that Emerson was right when claiming that ‘a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,’ the thoughtful and creative manipulation of a sustained consistency can be a challenge to the vastest and deepest of intellects. Richard Kalich is able to effect this type of consistency throughout the whole of Charlie P, an accomplishment to be admired.” – Christopher Leise, Electronic Book Review

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How to fail (at) fiction and influence everybody: review of one of the novels from Central Park West Trilogy

September 6, 2014

BetimesBooksNow

“This is a book that will throw you back into an energetic relationship with the process of reading fiction”. –Christopher Leise about Richard Kalich

Read more: http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/fictionspresent/moist

 

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