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The Assisted Living Facility Library (hardcover)

Richard Kalich

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Price: U.S. $19.95
Richard Kalich
The Assisted Living Facility Library (hardcover)
Series No.: 210
ISBN: 978-1-933382-29-6, Pages: 204
American Literature, Fiction

"This is experimental fiction at its best and most human. With the control of the great postmodernists, Kalich reveals how books form a life, and how, as a life comes to its end, both the books and the life itself become whittled down to what is glowingly essential."
— BRIAN EVENSON, Novelist and Critic

"A major American writer."
The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Kalich might have written the last postmodern novel; or maybe the last novel: period."
— BRIAN MCHALE, Literary Theorist

Combining fiction and autobiography, the aging writer Richard Kalich describes an unexpected dilemma: he will only be allowed to bring 100 favorite books of the 10,000 or more that crowd his New York City apartment when he moves into an Assisted Living Facility.

Kalich starts to pare down his books with an obsessive urgency that becomes a reexamination of the writing life. And, after taking into his apartment a catatonic homeless woman and her young son in order to write his novel Mother Love, he realizes how wrong he has been. Art is one thing, life is another, and he has only lived "half-a-life." Calling forth his archetypal villain Haberman from an earlier novel, The Nihilesthete, the Author teams up with his Character to explore Kalich's lifelong inner conflict and the possibility of changing his nature, of transcending the Mind/Body Split.

Richard Kalich is an internationally acclaimed novelist whose other books include The Zoo, Charlie P, and Penthouse F. He has been a Finalist for the National Book Award and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His works have been translated into 14 languages.

Also by Richard Kalich:
Charlie P, $9.95
Penthouse F, $9.95

Book Review(s)


by George Salis

From "Central Park West Trilogy and The Assisted Living Facility Library by Richard Kalich"

The Assisted Living Facility Library is a somber and even at times sadistic novel that manages to be a constantly intriguing and even comfortable read. While technically not part of the Central Park West Trilogy, it acts as a coda. There’s an element of autofiction here, not to mention metafiction (one of the most unexpected bits in terms of the former categorization is Kalich’s friendship with David Markson near the end of his life when he was dying of cancer and nearly blind). I would have loved to read more about Kalich’s takes on his most beloved books and writers as he whittles down his collection of 10,000 books to 100 in preparation for a move into an assisted living facility (unfortunately, we never get the full list of books, but we do get titles like Thomas Bernhard’s Concrete, Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying, and Nathaniel West’s Miss Lonelyhearts).... READ MORE

THE COLLIDESCOPE, August 10, 2022

by George Salis

From “Absence of Beauty: An Interview with Richard Kalich”

George Salis: Since you’ve already written about your top books in that novel, I’m wondering which of your favorite films and records you’d bring with you to the assisted living facility or a desert island for that matter?

Richard Kalich: The only records I would bring, (might bring) to the facility are my father’s who was a prominent Cantor in an Orthodox Jewish Synagogue in NYC. A child prodigy who sang in a choir with Jan Peerce (his lifelong friend) and who from the age of 8 supported his own parents and little brother, but at the cost of not being able to have a formal education. My mother was the one with brains in the family (not talent). A PhD at Barnard and later Columbia University, she instilled in us, my twin brother, the novelist Robert Kalich, and myself, a love of learning and books. Her daily recitativo: “I don’t want businessmen for children. I want scholars and artists, poets and writers.” When it comes to films, I love many but again my either/or dialectic would prevail. Comparing Hitchcock, for example, to Dostoevsky (not that one should compare) would be an insult to the preternaturally injured Russian; or Scorsese to Dürrenmatt likewise insulting. Still, I might take along such films as The Godfather I and II. On the Waterfront. The Verdict (a personal favorite). When Harry Met Sally… and An Officer and a Gentleman…that’s Entertainment! (Not everything has to be High Art.)... READ MORE

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