Posts tagged ‘metafiction’
January 8, 2019
We are happy and proud – overjoyed, really! – to share with you a few lines from a letter that the great American post-modernist writer Richard Kalich wrote to us and the Irish writer Colin O’Sullivan after having read his work for the first time (Colin’s novel, The Starved Lover Sings).
Such an endorsement, coming from an erudite, an intellectual and a passionate advocate of literary fiction and the Written Word, is invaluable.
“I have much to say and think the best way to get out what I feel and think about Colin’s novel is in staccato bursts.
My first and ongoing impression is that you, Colin, have written a book that would have inspired me to become a Writer if I needed such inspiration when young. Writers like Thomas Mann did their damage to me all those years back in much the same way. There’s an inner beauty to your narrative and characters, a most human beauty that is the undercurrent of all you write, create, and no matter how dark or perverse the narrative probes… […]
Second: No matter how varied and complexly differentiated your characters are, it seemed again to me they all emanated from that same most Human Source: Yourself. I’ve read too much and too many not to know the difference between a True Writer and a stereotypical “conceit”. […]
Colin O’Sullivan, I’m happy to say, has the heart of an Irish Poet and the intellect and wisdom of a Jewish Sage.
[…] I’ve always believed the job of the Writer is to take inside him the pain of the world and then through his craft, gift, talent and soul, to articulate it. Words, paint, clay or body movement…it’s all the same. Well, your book does that as much and as well as any book I’ve read in recent years. A Poet of Darkness… They don’t make ‘em like you anymore. And I mean it, and not in a corny way when I say… Thank You for being ‘YOU’. And Thank You, [Betimes Books], for publishing Colin and his book.
P.S. The last pages are not only well thought-out, but an epiphany of Poetics.
Richard Kalich is the author of The Nihilesthete, Charlie P, and Penthouse-F, re-issued by Betimes Books as Central Park West Trilogy. His new novel, The Assisted Living Facility Library, will be published later this year.
March 14, 2018
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.
August 25, 2016
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.
“- 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.
– 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
August 9, 2016
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!
– Yes. We are. We are indeed.
– 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?
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
March 3, 2016
“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
September 10, 2015
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 :
December 23, 2014
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)