"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
"This is experimental fiction at its best and most human. With the control of the great postmodernists, Kalich reveals how books form a life, and how, as a life comes to its end, both the books and the life itself become whittled down to what is glowingly essential." -- Brian Evenson, Novelist and Critic "A major American writer." -- Carlin Romano, The Philadelphia Inquirer "Kalich might have written the last postmodern novel; or maybe the last novel: period." -- Brian McHale, Literary Theorist Combining fiction and autobiography, the aging writer Richard Kalich describes an unexpected dilemma: he will only be allowed to bring 100 favorite books of the 10,000 or more that crowd his New York City apartment when he moves into an Assisted Living Facility. Kalich starts to pare down his books with an obsessive urgency that becomes a reexamination of the writing life. And, after taking into his apartment a catatonic homeless woman and her young son in order to write his novel Mother Love, he realizes how wrong he has been. Art is one thing, life is another, and he has only lived "half-a-life." Calling forth his archetypal villain Haberman from an earlier novel, The Nihilesthete, the Author teams up with his Character to explore Kalich's lifelong inner conflict and the possibility of changing his nature, of transcending the Mind/Body Split. Richard Kalich is an internationally acclaimed novelist whose other books include The Zoo, Charlie P, and Penthouse F. He has been a Finalist for the National Book Award and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His works have been translated into 14 languages.