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In the Shadow of King Saul: Essays on…

In the Shadow of King Saul: Essays on Silence and Song (The Art of the…

by Jerome Charyn

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1710878,835 (3.72)3



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Particularly strong on Babel and Bellow, these very beautiful and personal essays range widely in the arts with the metaphor of silence as a touchstone. Though I read them together in one long lovely sitting, they might be better served read individually and then mused on -thought about -and gone back to. Either way you approach them approach them you should. A thoughtful treat for readers in love with language and nuance - and silence. ( )
1 vote michaelg16 | Sep 17, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Essential reading for Jerome Charyn fans, as these essays are largely about the influences and experiences in his life that have shaped him as a person and a writer. Not sure how well this collection would work for a first-time reader of him. ( )
  alliepascal | Sep 16, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This collection of essays is in no way easy reading. They are beautifully written and if you read it out loud, it almost sounds like verse but some of these are extremely difficult and I had to read several pages over multiple times. Overall, though, I am glad I explored this author. ( )
  LissaJ | Aug 22, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The book is a collection of well written essays that don’t follow the format that I’m used to but that’s a good thing its part autobiographical, biblical and historical. This book keeps you on your feet, entertaining. ( )
  4Tonya | Aug 7, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I have been deprived for my longish life (almost as long as Jerome Charyn's) because In the Shadow of King Saul is my first experience of his mastery of our language. In his introductory essay, "Silence & Song," he recalls his amazement at receiving a final grade of 100 in a high school writing class when the valedictorian and class poet received only 99. Sure there must have been a mistake, he says to his teacher, "Sir, Ramona has much more finesse. I had to scratch and scratch for every word." His teacher answers, "Yes, and she hardly scratched at all." I don't know whether Charyn still scratches, but his song on these pages wins 100 from me.
In fact, I love that first essay. It is a prospectus for the book, showing something of his life and development as a writer, his love for American Jewish story tellers, and the movies...all grown from the silence of the Bronx in his childhood. He reminds us that King Saul was tall, handsome - the icon of the perfect king - and alone, silent without music of his own, unloved by God, who had little David waiting in the wings. Rereading "Silence & Song," I found it the perfect afterward.
So, meet Isaac Babel and Saul Bellow again; learn about Anzia Yezierska; see Alan Ladd and Rita Hayworth as ghostly faces on the wall; feel the pain of Louise Brooks and Josh Gibson - all in the company of Jerome Charyn, who grew out of the silence of the Bronx into his own singing voice.
My thanks to Early Reviewers and Bellevue Literary Press for my copy of this beautiful book! ( )
2 vote LizzieD | Jul 30, 2018 |
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"Jerome Charyn is one of the most important writers in American literature." --Michael Chabon "Whatever milieu [Charyn] chooses to inhabit . . . his sentences are pure vernacular music, his voice unmistakable." --Jonathan Lethem "With his customary linguistic verve and pulsing imagination, 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 In theNew 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"; theLos 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. . . . Allof [whom] scalped me in some way, left their mark." Jerome Charyn is the author of more than fifty works of fiction and nonfiction. Among other honors, Charyn has been named a Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture and received the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.… (more)

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