A Secret Service not a Brothel For SpiesWednesday, January 29, 2020
|Jerome Charyn, 2018 - New York City|
One of my boiler plate tests for determining if I will read a novel is the first and last paragraph peek before I purchase a book. Sometimes if the book is a mystery I refrain from the second part.
I have a friend who happens to be a writer. Below (eventually) I will note the books he has published from his Wikipedia reference. Jerome Charyn gives Joyce Carol Oates a run for her money!
My discovery of Charyn was an accident in the early 90s. I was looking for a book by Raymond Chandler at Duthie's, a Vancouver bookstore. That’s when I noticed him. I was soon a fan of the Pink Commish and the Portuguese Jews of his police procedurals set in New York City. From there I went to all the others he had written. I knew I was onto a good thing as my friend George Bowering, Canada’s first Poet Laureate, has every book Charyn has ever written.
In 1995 I visited Charyn in New York for a Vancouver literary magazine. It was at a bookstore at Rockefeller Center that I found and thoroughly enjoyed the best non-fiction book (in my estimation) about New York, Metropolis (1984). In it I learned that Charyn, an extremely handsome man, would sit on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I did the same, but no wonderful woman approached me.
Once the Pink Commish became the President of the United States in Winter Warning, 2017, I was wowed by anything Charyn would write next. After all in The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson , 2010 and I Am Abraham: ANovel of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, 2014 he made a startling change in his novel writing by producing what I call “first person” autobiographical novels. Charyn was criticized by some for daring to put himself in the shoes of a woman (Emily Dickinson’s) and his friend, Joyce Carol Oates came to his defense.
|Lenore Riegel & Jerome Charyn & Ketzl - Greenwich Village - 2018|
In 2018 my Rosemary and I visited Charyn and his wife Leonore Riegel where I met his cat. By then he had finished his first person autobiographical novel The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King: A Novel of Teddy Roosevelt and His Times, 2019 and I was able to find the connection between Isaac Sidel’s (the Pink Commish) and Teddy Roosevelt (who was a New York City police commissioner) a desk which Charyn has promised me to one day take me to see it.
In the mail a couple of weeks ago I received his latest (he does not write many of these) spy thriller Cesare : a Novel of War-Torn Berlin.
I gave it my first and last paragraph test:
February 11, 1943
From the desk of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris
They did not want to hear anything but the latest news about Cesare. That’s how bad the war was going. And the bombings over Berlin had started again after the quietus of a year. They were frightened, these wives of generals and diplomats. I shouldn’t have been here. I ran a secret service, not a brothel for spies.
“Herr Admiral,” they said, “is he phantom of flesh?”
And I had no reply, “Gnädige Frau, I cannot discuss my agents.”
But it was the talk of Berlin. How Captain Erik Holdermannofte Abwehr had strangled a notorious traitor in a room full of Goyas at the Prado.
And last page:
He took her in his arms, danced to the subtle screams of Jewish Jazz, her body caught in the clarinetist’s cry, and it didn’t matter to Erik what material she was made of – ashes or solid bone. Hansel and Gretel would have to wait. He was never going to leave this club.
Jerome Charyn's Literary Output - Wikipedia
Isaac Sidel series
Blue Eyes, Simon & Schuster, 1975
Marilyn the Wild, Arbor House, 1976
The Education of Patrick Silver, Arbor House, 1976
Secret Isaac, Arbor House, 1978
The Good Policeman, Mysterious Press, 1990
Maria's Girls, Warner Books, 1992
Montezuma's Man, Warner Books, 1993
Little Angel Street, Warner Books, 1995
El Bronx, Warner Books, 1997
Citizen Sidel, Mysterious Press, 1999
Under the Eye of God, Mysterious Press and Open Road Media, 2012
Winter Warning: An Isaac Sidel Novel, Pegasus Books, October, 2017
The Isaac Quartet, Four Walls Eight Windows, 2002 (Omnibus of the first four Sidel novels)
Once upon a Droshky, McGraw-Hill, 1964
On the Darkening Green, McGraw-Hill, 1965
The Man Who Grew Younger, Harper & Row, 1967
Going To Jerusalem, Viking, 1967
American Scrapbook, Viking, 1969
Eisenhower, My Eisenhower, Holt, 1971
The Tar Baby, Holt, 1973
The Franklin Scare, Arbor House, 1977
The Seventh Babe, Arbor House, 1979
The Catfish Man, Arbor House, 1980
Darlin' Bill, Arbor House, 1980
Panna Maria, Arbor House, 1982
Pinocchio's Nose, Arbor House, 1983
War Cries Over Avenue C, Donald I. Fine, 1985
Paradise Man, Donald I. Fine, 1987
Elsinore, Warner Books, 1991
Back to Bataan, Farrar, Straus (for younger readers), 1993
Death of a Tango King, New York University Press, 1998
Captain Kidd, St. Martin's Press, 1999
Hurricane Lady, Warner Books, 2001
The Green Lantern, Thunder's Mouth Press, 2004
Johnny One-Eye: A Tale of the American Revolution, W.W.Norton, 2008
The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, W.W.Norton, 2010
I Am Abraham: A Novel of Lincoln and the Civil War. W. W. Norton & Company. 3 February 2014. ISBN 978-0-87140-427-5.
Jerzy: A Novel, Bellevue Literary Press, March, 2017
The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King: A Novel of Teddy Roosevelt and His Times, Liveright, 2019
Short stories and collections (selected)
The Man Who Grew Younger and Other Stories, Harper, 1967
Bitter Bronx: Thirteen Stories, Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2015, ISBN 9780871404893
"The Blue Book of Crime," in The New Black Mask, Harcourt Brace, 1986
"Fantomas in New York", in A Matter of Crime, Harcourt Brace, 1988
"Young Isaac," in The Armchair Detective, 1990
"Lorelei". Atlantic Monthly Summer Fiction Issue. Summer 2010.
"Silk & Silk". Narrative Magazine's. October 2010.
"Adonis" in The American Scholar, Winter, 2011 Issue
"Little Sister". Atlantic Monthly Fiction Issue. 2011.
The Paperhanger's Wife
"Archie and Mehitabel". The American Scholar, Fiction. Summer 2012.
The Major Leaguer
Family Man, art by Joe Staton, lettering by Ken Bruzenak, Paradox Press, 1995
Metropolis: New York as Myth, Marketplace and Magical Land, Putnam's, 1986
Translated and adapted into French by Cécile Bloc-Rodot – New York : Chronique d'une ville sauvage, coll. Découvertes Gallimard (nº 204), Paris: Gallimard, 1994 (also translated into Spanish, Italian, Korean and simplified Chinese, as translated from the French version)
Movieland: Hollywood and the Great American Dream Culture, Putnam's, 1989, New York University Press, 1996
The Dark Lady from Belorusse, St. Martin's Press, 1997
Hemingway : Portrait de l'artiste en guerrier blessé, coll. Découvertes Gallimard (nº 371), Paris: Gallimard, 1999
Trad. into traditional Chinese by Chʻên Li-chʻing – Hai Ming Wei: Shang hên lei lei tê wên hsüeh lao ping, collection "Fa hsien chih lü" (vol. 57), Taipei: China Times Publishing, 2001
The Black Swan, St. Martin's Press, 2000
Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins: Ping-Pong and the Art of Staying Alive, Four Walls Eight Windows, 2001
Bronx Boy: A Memoir. St. Martin's Press. 11 April 2002. ISBN 978-0-312-27810-6.
Gangsters & Gold Diggers: Old New York, the Jazz Age, and the Birth of Broadway, Four Walls Eight Windows, 2003
Savage Shorthand: The Life and Death of Isaac Babel. Random House Publishing Group. 18 December 2007. ISBN 978-0-307-43179-0.
Inside the Hornet's Head: an anthology of Jewish American Writing, Thunder's Mouth Press, 2005
Raised by Wolves: The Turbulent Art and Times of Quentin Tarantino, Thunder's Mouth Press, 2005
Marilyn : La dernière déesse, Découvertes Gallimard (n° 517), Gallimard, 2007
Marilyn: The Last Goddess [an illustrated biography of Marilyn Monroe from Abrams Discoveries series], Abrams, 2008
Joe DiMaggio: The Long Vigil, Yale University Press, American Icon series, March, 2011
A Loaded Gun: Emily Dickinson for the 21st Century, Bellevue Literary Press, March, 2016
Selected plays and documentaries
George (three-act play) developed at the Actors Studio, under Arthur Penn, staged readings at La Maison des Ecrivains (Paris 1988) and Ubu Repertory Theater (NY 1990)
Empire State Building, co-writer, semi-fictional documentary broadcast by Canal Plus, (France 2008)
Editor, The Single Voice: An Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. New York, Collier, 1969
Editor, The Troubled Vision: An Anthology of Contemporary Short Novels and Passages. New York, Collier, 1970
Editor, The New Mystery. New York, Dutton, 1993