Isaac Sidel Reviews

"Charyn has trained his prose and makes it perform tricks. It's a New York prose, street-smart, sly and full of lurches, like a series of subway stops on the way to hell."
— New York Times

"Packed with manic energy, peopled with bizarre characters and outrageous situations. [Charyn] sounds like a ... Jewish Philip Marlowe."
— Chicago Sun-Times

"These books constitute the highest kind of novelistic art ... absolutely unique among contemporary writers."
— Los Angeles Times

“Jerome Charyn is one of the most important writers in American literature.”
Michael Chabon

"The joyous weirdness of Charyn's idiosyncratic New York City can't be described-it must be experienced. Nor can Isaac Sidel, Charyn's one-of-a-kind protagonist and former Commissioner of the NYPD, be understood on brief acquaintance. Here, in the fourth absorbing book of Charyn's Odessa quartet (following Montezuma's Man), it is the mid 1980s and Sidel has been elected mayor, with a month to go before taking office. Subject to his usual paranoia, the former Commish is hiding out in homeless shelters under an assumed name. Now bums are being killed, each one labeled with Sidel's fake name. The murders are claimed by a racist gang who call themselves the Knickerbocker Boys and use the names of Sidel's beloved 19th-century baseball stars. That a few of these white racists might be black is the sort of anomaly that Sidel takes in stride. Some trails lead to a Times Square porn palace where Romanian orphans are made available for pedophiles and where the sultry Rita works. Perhaps she can cure Isaac of his bitter love for Margaret Tolstoy, who has a bad habit of sleeping with Isaac's enemies. Other trails lead to the racists, who may have infiltrated an organization dedicated to historic-building preservation. Table tennis and baseball are near religions, and as always there are too many characters to track (someone should write a Sidel glossary). Puzzle-loving readers should take careful note of Charyn's use of perhaps and may, practicing Sidelian vigilance-the road to Gracie Mansion is loaded with potholes."
- Publishers Weekly

"Jerome Charyn wrote an inventive 10-book series featuring Isaac Sidel, an NYPD captain who later becomes deputy police commissioner and the city's mayor. I started reading these books after a guy whose reading tastes I like described them as "very hip, off the wall, and full of jazz-like riffs of words." They won't appeal to everyone; in addition to its surreal quality, the writing almost explodes off the page with vitality. Adult language and sexual content from the git-go. A lot of slang; Charyn likes words. They should be read in order. (You do know about Stop, You're Killing Me! don't you? You can find series order there.) Start with Blue Eyes, the first book in the Isaac Quartet, in which NYPD Detective Manfred Cohen butts heads with his mentor, Deputy Chief Inspector Sidel. In the second, Marilyn the Wild, Charyn examines what led to the events in Blue Eyes."

No comments:

Post a Comment