Charlie P

Richard Kalich, Author
Richard Kalich, Author . Green Integer $12.95 (241p) ISBN 978-1-933382-05-0
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In this zany, episodic picaresque, anxiety and erections rule the life of the title Charlie, a priapic, Woody Allen–style flaneur, "Peckerhead and Prophet. Pariah and Prodigal Son... all things to all people and nothing to himself." As Charlie tells his shrink, it was a domineering mother who turned him into an amiable, sex-mad slacker: she wanted him to be a novelist. Instead, Charlie interviews possible agents and publishers without writing a word—or indeed reading a single book, despite the fact that he has compiled a massive library. At every turn through Charlie's mild misadventures, Kalich tries to go over the top: in one episode, Charlie misplaces his penis and envisions the happy life to come without the trouble of a sex life. In another episode he falls victim to a bizarre series of accidents, losing all five senses and suffering manifold indignities in a Kafkaesque hospital, right up to having his ass removed and sewn on to the body of another. It's hard to see where Kalich is going with so much coy buffoonery, but he hints that Charlie's behavior is all too typical of an ongoing cultural crisis of masculinity. This book doesn't help. (Jan. 16)

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