"Central Park West Trilogy" includes three novels 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, character and form a body of work that is distinctive and brilliant.
"The Nihilesthete" (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. This enigmatic physically diminished esthete will reveal not only his true essence, but the very center of what it means to be human.
"Penthouse F" 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 an increasingly voyeuristic society, a metafiction where Kalich the writer, Kalich the person and Kalich the character all merge together, as the reader must pick through the confusion to discover the truth.
"Charlie P" 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.
"Richard 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." -Brian Evenson
"Kalich is a successful novelist, one who has succeeded in consistently producing perplexing fictions that fail to categorize themselves and escape the warping influence of authorial intent." -Electronic Book Review
"Kalich represents the best in contemporary fiction. He has every chance to become-why not? -a living classical author." -Hooligan Literary Magazine
"The Nihilesthete is a brilliant, hammer-hitting, lights-out novel." -Los Angeles Times
"One of the most powerfully written books of the decade." -San Francisco Chronicle
"A tour de force... equals the best work of playwright Sam Shepard." -Columbus Post-Dispatch
"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
"Ghosts haunt this book from first page to last: Dostoevsky, Mallarme, Kafka, Mann, Camus, Pessoa, Gombrowicz--and, oh yes, most perniciously of all, "Kalich." -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
"With his continuous comic exaggeration, Kalich is able to describe, highly uniquely, the overwhelming, vertiginous, risky sensation of being alive." -American Book Review
"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
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About the Author
Kalich has been compared to Kafka, Auster, Beckett, Bataille, Camus and Gombrowicz. He has been finalist of the National Book Award, nominated twice for a Pulitzer, and his works have been translated into several languages.