Synopses & Reviews
Fiction. The five sequences of LIFT YOUR RIGHT ARM are minimalist novels of sorts—thought- provoking, mostly deadpan prose that is often darkly humorous. From the stark relationship studies of "Bagatelles" and "Dirty Windows" to the wry observations of "Mr. Deadman" and "A Certain Clarence," the stars of these pieces are Peter Cherches' unique takes on Everyman and Everywoman—dead or alive—navigating a world in which very little is what it seems.
"One of the innovators of the short short story, Cherches (Condensed Book) returns with a collection whose pieces linger in the void somewhere between poetry and prose. Consisting of five sequences of loosely connected minimalist stories few of which go on for longer than a page these 'novellas', though distinct, keep returning to certain overarching themes: the reality of death, the difficulty of expressing subjective perspective, and the failures of language. In 'Mr. Deadman', a corpse rises from the grave and gives new meaning to the word 'afterlife'. The couple in 'Dirty Windows' repeatedly struggles to unify their individual perspectives of the world into a single coherent reality. Two of the other novellas are categorized as 'bagatelles', and true to their name resemble musical trifles, experiments in language that carry little dramatic weight. Throughout Cherches demonstrates a brilliant gift for wordplay, though the more fulfilling novellas feature more developed characters: Mr. Deadman, the perpetual corpse, proves to be of greater interest than the vaudevillian dialogues of One, Two, and Three, the featureless interlocutors who star in one of the bagatelles. Sadly, the collection never manages to overcome this unevenness, resulting in a brisk, entertaining, but insubstantial read. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Peter Cherches is the author of two previous volumes of short prose, Condensed Book and BETWEEN A DREAM AND A CUP OF COFFEE (Red Dust, 1987). His work has appeared in the anthologies Poetry 180 and Up Is Up, But So Is Down: New York's Downtown Literary Scene, 1974-1992. His fiction and other short prose work has been featured in a wide range of magazines and journals, including Harper's, Semiotext(e), Transatlantic Review, Fiction International, North American Review, Fence and Bomb. Cherches also writes about food and music and is a two-time recipient of New York Foundation for the Arts fellowships in creative nonfiction. He is a native of Brooklyn, New York.