Charlie's Books

Charlie's Books
Buon Giorno, Amici!

Our motto ...

Leave the (political) party. Take the cannoli.

"It always seems impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela

Right now 6 Stella crime novels are available on Kindle for just $.99 ... Eddie's World has been reprinted and is also available from Stark House Press (Gat Books).

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Convalescent … ART, Caliendo Style …Cinco de Mayo … Quattro la Saints …


Darwin is quoted often in this raucous romp of parallel stories; one a historical account of the Pfliegmans (the rise and fall of them) and the other the final days-to-days of the last of the Pfliegmans, Rovar. He’s a small, hairy fella who has spoken a word since childhood. He keeps weird insect pets (Rovar = Insect in Hungarian, by the way) … he lives an isolated life and expects nothing but the worst (as is his Pfliegman destiny). He sells meat from a bus on a Virginia countryside road (close to a river) and his life is pretty much one misery (whether it be insult or physical debilitation) after another. If things don’t change (change being a key word here, amici) Rovar is doomed to be the final Pfliegman … extinction is all his. (as he expects his mother to say at one point in he novel: all of this terrible life is your fault). The political hints as they relate to Darwin and the plight of the Pfliegmans are wonderful. My favorite passage has to do with Rovar’s dilemma of explaining to his love interest (Dr. Monica) his believed destiny:

How could I explain to her that the reason for my illnesses both is and is not biological? That my body is chained to a legacy of a thousand other crippled bodies that lived and died over the last millennium? … Weren’t the Pfliegmans, in that sense, actually necessary for their success? Isn’t it for the protection of the weakest members of our race that all good change happens in the world? Isn’t it true that if we do not care for the least among us—no matter how filthy or backward or solipsistic—we will become a race of monsters? What some historians and other official-sounding officials try to call “progress,” all the while asking themselves whether history should be written this way or that, we Pfliegmans have never asked, knowing full well, deep within our rotted cores, the sacrifice that we must make for the survival of the greater good.  “Throughout nature,” Darwin writes, “one species incessantly takes advantages of, and profits by, the structures of others —”

If I didn’t mention that this novel is hilarious, I will now. It is hilarious. Whether reading the historical Hungarian story or Rovar’s in the moment pursuit of love, you will be smiling page by page. Isaac Asimov makes an appearance, as does Carly Simon (she and her very wide mouth) make a few actually. The fun starts early and doesn’t stop until the Kafkaesque ending. And it was at that time when the music began playing in my head … specifically a few lines toward the end that came to mind, but you’ll have to read the book to figure it out and/or catch the clue given in the video below.

I can’t give away the ending, but it was a beautiful idealistic vision … the kind I suspect we all need to maintain any hope.

A side note to the novel: I was so happy to read a reference to the Nixon-Kissinger illegal secret bombings of Cambodia in this novel. I did a political science thesis on the Khmer Rouge and how they came to power—exactly because of the Nixon-Kissinger connection and their secret B52 raids over a neutral nation state during the Vietnam “conflict”. What had started as operation Breakfast quickly turned to Operation Menu and more bomb tonnage was dropped on Cambodia during our attempts to get the so-called Vietcong sanctuaries along the border than the US and all its allies dropped in all of WWII.

And let’s not forget Dr. Atkins (that cocksucker) … Like Knucks recently, Árpád (one of the Hungarians in the historical story) was merely a man desperate for his carbohydrates. I felt my brother (Árpád)’s pain and abandoned that diet after 16 days of pure torture (and really bad breath).

All hail Rovar!

All read this novel!

Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review of The Convalescent: Jess Anthony's compulsively readable debut novel stars Rovar Pfliegman, who sells meat out of a bus in Virginia. Rovar is a peculiar, troll-like man: he is short and hairy, has not spoken since childhood, keeps a pet beetle and lives in the same broken-down bus that houses his meat business. But perhaps the most remarkable thing about Rovar is his precarious singularity. He is the last of the Pfliegmans and, by his own account, he is falling apart. Although he halfheartedly seeks treatment for his various ailments, he seems far more bent on fulfilling the destiny of self-destruction all Pfliegmans (according to Rovar) are subject to. Rovar's explanation of his family sprawls deep into the past, probing beyond his chaotic childhood all the way back to the origins of the Pfliegman clan in premedieval Hungary. Along the way, the narrative nods to all sorts of greats—Kafka, Rushdie, Darwin and Grass, to name a few. But Anthony's style—funny, immediate and unapologetically cerebral—carves out a space all its own.

Art, Caliendo Style ... check out this dude’s art photography (above--know that place? You sure should ...) He’s doing our book covers for both Shakedown and Mafiya (which we’ve recently received our rights to again). Shakedown will be going ebook within the next month or so and Mr. Caliendo will be handling the photography while Dave Terrenoire (Rough Riders) handles the actual book jacket. Pretty cool, amici, pretty cool. Anthony has special photographic talents, amici. Check out Anthony’s gallery right here.


Happy 5th of May, Amici … how cool is that I no longer give a flying fuck about my weight (at least not this week) … Friday night (4th de Mayo) we ate (and ate) at our favorite Mexican restaurant mas Tacos, mas Enchiladas

There will be four less Aints come opening day in the NFL this season … one of them (Jonathan Vilma) is gone for the entire season (and probably his career because who is gonna want him after another year?) Well, good, we say. They certainly deserve it. Knucksline only wishes those caught in cheating scandals of any kind get to wear the big ASTERISK Ravens coach John Harbaugh suggested they already have in our minds. The Saints scandal happened to fall right dab in the middle of their championship season, so let’s make sure that ASTERISK is right there with the ones the NEW ENGLAND CHEATERFACES have accumulated.

And each player from both teams wearing super bowl rings should have the following inscribed across the bottom: FRIGGIN’ FUUUUUUUUUUUUUGAZY.


And how ‘bout some magic, amici ... from the movie Amadeus (The Queen of the Night’s aria) in Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute).