cover image In the Shadow of King Saul: Essays on Silence and Song

In the Shadow of King Saul: Essays on Silence and Song

Jerome Charyn. Bellevue, $16.99 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-942658-42-9

Charyn (A Loaded Gun) presents a deeply personal look at the city, authors, and experiences that have shaped him and his writing. Readers will delight in encountering Charyn’s New York City, where “everything is possible because its past is only the future turned upside down,” beginning with the Dutch colonists who named it “New Amsterdam” to pretend they had never left home. From his ruminations on seeing classic studio-era films during his South Bronx childhood in the 1940s and ’50s to an account of a day spent with Mayor Ed Koch in the mid-’80s, Charyn’s prose enchants as he explores the modern individual as a sort of King Saul figure, out of favor with God. He draws a parallel between the biblical ruler, who “did not have the gift of song,” and his own father, a Polish immigrant ill at ease with English and America. Charyn views his own writing as “a mute’s revenge on a talkative world,” crediting Saul Bellow with inspiring not only him but many other Jewish writers to feel that they could join the American literary conversation. Longtime fans and those new to Charyn’s work alike will enjoy this distinctive glimpse into one author’s influences. Agent: Georges Borchardt, George Borchardt Inc. (Sept.)