The Nihilesthete

Richard Kalich, Author, Richard Kalish, Author Permanent Press (NY) $22 (160p) ISBN 978-0-932966-77-3
In this suffocatingly gloomy first novel, Haberman, a social caseworker based in Harlem, morbidly attaches himself to one of his wards: Brodski, a hideously deformed quadriplegic whose speech consists of garbled sounds. Somehow Haberman, a man in his mid-50s who once may have entertained the notion of becoming an artist, senses that Brodski is an incipient painter and makes it the mission of his desolate life to help the quadriplegic realize his ambition. Equipped with all sorts of prosthetic devices, Brodski paints magnificentlyin the style, we are solemnly informed, of abstract expressionism, or primitive minimalism, where ""less is more.'' But despite his initial good will, Haberman is driven by malign jealousy to deprive his protege of everything that makes life bearable. This parable of art and the forces that seek to destroy it is so static and literal minded that the reader is not so much harrowed as oppressed by its grim story. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1987
Release date: 06/01/1987
Paperback - 230 pages - 978-1-56504-998-7
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