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Charyn, Jerome

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1937-    ) US author who was born and educated in New York, which city he gradually transformed in his fiction into a Magic-Realist venue whose mythopoeic resonances and exorbitant happenings hover (see Equipoise) at the edge of generic displacements (and beyond), and strongly prefigure the fabulated New York of writers like John Crowley, Mark Helprin or Jonathan Lethem; active from around 1960. The long nonfantastic (though fabulistic) Isaac Sidel sequence of detective novels, beginning with Blue Eyes (1975), casts a mythopoeic glow over greater New York [series not listed below]. Metropolis: New York as Myth, Marketplace, and Magical Land (1986) powerfully realizes the city in nonfiction terms, just as Movieland: Hollywood and the Great American Dream Culture (1989) anatomizes Hollywood (see California; Cinema). Few of his fifty or so books are actually fantasy or sf; but Eisenhower, My Eisenhower (1971) edges into the Near Future in its rendering of an apocalyptic youth culture built around worship of the god Karooku; Darlin' Bill: A Love Story of the Wild West (1980) creates an almost totally imaginary West; and Pinocchio's Nose (1983) carries its stymied protagonist into the twenty-first century, where he finally learns to relax, though the world itself is battered; La Femme du magicien (graph 1986; trans by author as The Magician's Wife 1987) with François Boucq is a supernatural tale involving considerable Sex and mesmerism; Death of a Tango King (1998) is a Magic Realist Fabulation whose protagonist, a woman just released from Prison, travels under orders from the CIA into South America, where Ecological devastation is universal, and intimations of the new century generate a sense that she has entered a heart of darkness (see Joseph Conrad). [JC]

Jerome Charyn

born New York: 13 May 1937

works (highly selected)




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