Books by Jerome Charyn

I was born in the Bronx in 1937 and grew up on its mean streets, which had plenty of movie houses but no library. I read comic books, discovered Captain Marvel and Krazy Kat, joined a gang, and dreamed of becoming a movie usher or a soda jerk, the two ste

BITTER BRONX by Jerome Charyn
Released: June 15, 2015

"Charyn calls the work 'no sentimental journey through my own traces as a child,' yet there's a writer's deep affection here for a world full of color and character."
Grifters, gangs, vamps, and lost souls pursue gritty lives in "the brick wilderness of the Bronx" in this collection of tales by a veteran storyteller and native of the New York borough. Read full book review >
I AM ABRAHAM by Jerome Charyn
Released: Feb. 3, 2014

"Charyn skillfully weaves bits of speeches and a large cast of characters, most of them drawn from Lincoln's life, into his intricate portrait of the 16th president."
Charyn (Johnny One-Eye, 2008, etc.) has Abraham Lincoln narrating his own story, beginning a few moments before the assassination and then telling the highlights of his life through a series of flashbacks. Read full book review >
UNDER THE EYE OF GOD by Jerome Charyn
Released: Oct. 30, 2012

"The result is a political cocktail almost as fizzy and inventive as The Onion or The Wall Street Journal in which every development is dark, urgent and apocalyptic, and none of it matters a bit."
Isaac Sidel, commissioner of police turned New York City mayor, adds a new title to his résumé: vice president-elect of the United States. Read full book review >
JOE DIMAGGIO by Jerome Charyn
Released: March 15, 2011

"Though sometimes over the top as he reimagines DiMaggio—'[Yankee] Stadium's suffering Christ'—Charyn supplies an intriguing, plausible take on this notoriously opaque hero."
A novelist's sympathetic meditation on the life of the legendary New York Yankee. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 22, 2010

"An irreverent novel—at turns both comic and febrile—that connects us to Dickinson's longings and eccentricities."
Charyn (Johnny One-Eye, 2008, plus more than 40 other books) takes on Emily Dickinson's private life—what was she doing all those years she was shut up in Amherst? Read full book review >
JOHNNY ONE-EYE by Jerome Charyn
Released: Feb. 1, 2008

"A crackling good epic, both comic and bawdy."
From Charyn (Raised by Wolves: The Turbulent Art and Times of Quentin Tarantino, 2006, etc.), a tale of intrigue, spying, George Washington, Benedict Arnold, Manhattan prostitutes, a castrato and a one-eye double agent—in other words, almost more history, character and action than can be contained in a single novel. Read full book review >
Released: June 10, 2006

"The author vacillates between theory-lite, barstool pontification and biography—but his book is sure to delight hardcore fans, students of Postmodern Cinema and the subject himself."
Prolific novelist Charyn (The Green Lantern, 2005, etc.) meditates on the life and work thus far of the controversial film auteur. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 9, 2005

"A kind of sour grapes of wrath, brilliantly rendered."
Rancor, resentment, whining, self-loathing and, of course, some very good prose. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 25, 2005

"Both a very uneven book and a very welcome one—a paradox Babel would have appreciated."
The tireless Charyn's 39th book (The Green Lantern, 2004, etc.) is a feisty "biographical meditation" on the truncated career of the great Russian modernist. Read full book review >
THE GREEN LANTERN by Jerome Charyn
Released: Nov. 1, 2004

"The plot, however, rarely matters with Charyn. He is who he is: endlessly quirky, just about inimitable, and definitely an acquired taste."
Love in a Siberian climate. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 2003

"Entertaining, affectionate—but not a hit."
A skillful novelist fashions an ordinary paean to the Broadway That Was, followed by an unsurprising rebuke of what we're left with. Read full book review >
BRONX BOY by Jerome Charyn
Released: July 11, 2002

"Mesmerizing, while being so gloriously embroidered as to utterly obscure the fabric of the author's true history."
The final installment in Charyn's trilogy chronicling his childhood in a long-gone Bronx. Read full book review >
HURRICANE LADY by Jerome Charyn
Released: May 1, 2001

"Even more disjointed than usual: a style that once seemed refreshing in its eccentricity now courts impatience like a one-trick pony turned just a little too frisky."
His famed Isaac Sidel saga (Citizen Sidel, 1999, etc.) on hold, Charyn explores the equally bizarro world of Jocko Robinson, the 97th richest man on earth. Read full book review >
THE BLACK SWAN by Jerome Charyn
Released: June 1, 2000

"Like Charyn's other works, this is characterized by beautiful (if somewhat tortured) prose and characters who gain more depth and with each appearance in the story. Truth, fiction, or somewhere in between—this is a Bronx story that few can resist."
Noted crime novelist and film scholar Charyn (Captain Kidd, 1999) offers second helpings of his remembrances in this engaging, somewhat incredible memoir. Read full book review >
CITIZEN SIDEL by Jerome Charyn
Released: Jan. 11, 1999

"Halfway through, though, readers might plead for mercy."
Call him Isaac. Read full book review >
DEATH OF A TANGO KING by Jerome Charyn
Released: June 1, 1998

"Logic flags, of course, but never invention, as Charyn, for better or worse, outdoes his own wildest fantasies in the shaggiest tale of Greenpeace-endorsed drug trafficking ever committed to paper."
Great news for the two or three fans concerned that Charyn's madly lightsome saga of New York police commissioner/mayor Isaac Sidel may have turned staid in recent installments (El Bronx, 1997, etc.): This freestanding sideshow, dedicated to Paco Ignacio Taibo, the only mystery writer in captivity more gaily surrealistic than Charyn, reads like a collaboration between the two. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 17, 1997

"Youth was the magical place of Charyn's inspiration and it is captured here honestly and simply. (photos, not seen)"
Charyn's fascination with quirky New York crime stories (El Bronx, p. 21, etc.) takes its cue from his early childhood, as this brief, charming, idiosyncratic memoir shows. Read full book review >
EL BRONX by Jerome Charyn
Released: Feb. 26, 1997

"Charyn's rich, spicy prose makes this aggressively romantic fable palatable but—be warned—riding his juggernaut plot may bring on vertigo."
This ninth in the idiosyncratic, quasi-mystical crime series beatifying New York Police Chief/Commissioner/Mayor Isaac Sidel— his most recent manifestation was as mayor-elect in Little Angel Street (1994)—tells of El Caballo's crusade to reclaim the gang- blasted Bronx from economic and human disaster. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1994

"A deliriously overplotted Hitchhiker's Guide to the Big Apple adorned with a demotic style and cartoon-epic conventions that would make it perfectly logical for the hero's bemused father to pop up ten pages from the end."
Charyn winds up his New Isaac Quartet (Montezuma's Man, 1993, etc.) with the inauguration of Isaac Sidel, the Pink Commish, as mayor of New York. Read full book review >
MONTEZUMA'S MAN by Jerome Charyn
Released: Aug. 1, 1993

"Not for the fainthearted—each of Charyn's baroque anti- procedural fantasies is required reading for all the others—but another bracing immersion in the most sustained attempt to date to create a personal mythology out of a police hero."
Now that his right-hand-man Manfred Coen is dead, New York Police Commissioner Isaac Sidel (The Good Policeman, etc., etc.) recruits a new lieutenant, Joe Barbarossa, an Irish/Italian/Nez PercÇ on the outs with Isaac's Justice Department scourge Frederic LeComte ever since he killed Montezuma, a doper turned DEA undercover agent. Read full book review >
BACK TO BATAAN by Jerome Charyn
Released: April 30, 1993

In a veteran author's weak first novel for young people—set in 1943 New York—a boy bounces between the palatial Upper West Side digs of a hated classmate and a hobo's makeshift shelter in Riverside Park. Read full book review >
THE NEW MYSTERY by Jerome Charyn
Released: Feb. 16, 1993

"Though it doesn't live up to the promise of its title, this is still the best one-volume bundle of mystery stories around."
A generously defined (unfashionably so) anthology of mystery stories, over a third of them (16 of 42) new. Read full book review >
MARIA'S GIRLS by Jerome Charyn
Released: May 1, 1992

"Maria isn't as lucky, nor are unwary readers who aren't already steeped in the mythology of the Pink Commish."
The James Joyce of the police novel is at it again, this time with a manic, woolly tale of New York Police Commissioner Isaac Sidel's attempts to crack a ring of thieving school officials while protecting his flank from his sometime protÇgÇ detective Caroll Brent, formerly of the Sherwood Forest precinct in Central Park. Read full book review >
ELSINORE by Jerome Charyn
Released: April 15, 1991

"Trying to disentangle the filaments of his absurd, inconsequential plot could drive you crazy, which would be about right."
Free-wheeling retired Aladdin Furs executive Sidney Holden, who wears the Duke of Windsor's second hand clothes, goes back into action when his live-in Fay's Svengali, Queens D.A. Paul Abruzzi, hauls her off, throwing Holden into the clutches of mogul Howard Phipps, who promises to reveal Fay's whereabouts (an asylum called Elsinore— though the news doesn't help) in return for Holden's help in inducing his long-gone old flame Judith Church, now 67, to come back to him— acting along the way as a gofer for Phipps's far-flung (Chappaquidick, the Basque territory) money-laundering operations. Read full book review >
Released: May 25, 1989

Personal/cultural memoir of growing up as a movie addict, with side-glances at the business. Read full book review >