In the Shadow of King Saul


272 pages

Trade Paper

List Price US $16.99
ISBN: 9781942658429


ISBN: 9781942658436

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“With his customary linguistic verve and pulsing imagination, Jerome Charyn serves up here some of the tastiest essay writing available. He knows and loves New York past and present, and he draws on a lifetime of raucous experience and dedicated reading for a rich, heady, satisfying brew.”

Phillip Lopate, editor of The Art of the Personal Essay and author of A Mother’s Tale

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“Accessible and brimming with erudition. . . . Charyn writes with passionate precision about writers, films and filmmakers, about New York’s marginalized classes, and all manner of cultural icons. . . . [He] deftly blends the stories of his own life with the stories of those whose ordeals, failures, and victories hold special meaning for him as symptomatic of the American experience. . . . Wherever he takes us, Charyn’s mind is always agile, and his prose is stunningly electric.”

Jewish Book Council

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“Powerful. . . . Charyn composes an autobiography of essays, sharing lessons learned from a lifetime of love for leading ladies, literature and language.”

Shelf Awareness for Readers

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“Lively essays. . . . A very personal view of the past artfully brought to vivid life.”

Kirkus Reviews

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“Deeply personal. . . . Readers will delight in encountering Charyn’s New York City. . . . 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. . . . Longtime fans and those new to Charyn’s work alike will enjoy this distinctive glimpse into one author’s influences.”

Publishers Weekly

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“A valuable collection, both an effective primer for readers new to Charyn’s work and an intriguing read for those already familiar, showing off his skills as a memoirist and a culture writer in equal measure.”

Foreword Reviews

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“[Charyn] is a writer of great passion, lyric and empathy. . . . These essays flow from the page with realism and from an author who knows the truth.”

North of Oxford

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“In [Charyn’s] enchanting writing, the glory is in the details.”

Comics Grinder

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The Art of the Essay series

In the New York Review of Books, Joyce Carol Oates expressed her admiration for an equally prolific contemporary: “Among Charyn’s writerly gifts is a dazzling energy. . . . [He is] an exuberant chronicler of the mythos of American life”; the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.” In these ten essays, Charyn shares personal stories about places steeped in history and myth, including his beloved New York, and larger-than-life personalities from the Bible and from the worlds of film, literature, politics, sports, and the author’s own family. Together, writes Charyn, these essays create “my own lyrical autobiography. Several of the selections are about other writers, some celebrated, some forgotten. . . . All of [whom] scalped me in some way, left their mark.”

This is the second title in Bellevue Literary Press’s The Art of the Essay series, which features compelling, creative nonfiction from accomplished writers of fiction, demonstrating the Bellevue Literary Press belief that fine literature knows no boundaries of genre or imagination.

Excerpt from In the Shadow of King Saul

Read an excerpt from Jerome Charyn’s In the Shadow of King Saul: Essays on Silence and Song at the Literary Hub and find interviews with him about the collection in Publishers Weekly and Stay Thirsty Magazine.