Penthouse F

PENTHOUSE F takes the form of an inquiry into the suicide, which may or may not be a murder, of a young boy and girl who took up residence in the protagonist/Author's (of the same name, Richard Kalich) apartment in Manhattan. Using the interrogations of various figures in the fictional Kalich's life, as well as the protagonist's own philosophical musings, personal documents, and notes on a novel-in-progress, the story of the pair's end unfolds, becoming more real and more suspect. At the center of this interrogation looms the question: is Kalich responsible? As Brian McHale has written of this fiction, "Right next door to PENTHOUSE F is the closet where the whipper whips his perpetual victim in Kafka's The Trial. But why travel so far afield for analogues, when there are Americans closer to hand? This is the sort of novel that John Hawkes might have written if he had spent a few years obsessing about the obsolescence of literature and the tyranny of the image....Or this is the kind of novel that Ron Sukenick might have written, and in fact did write in Blown Away—a dossier-novel, an archive of documents, some real, some faked, adding up (or not adding up, finally) to a reflection on the way we live now in the society of the spectacle." In this definitive fiction of our time, the internationally acclaimed award-winning novelist, Richard Kalich, is able to undertake a pointed critical examination of an increasingly voyeuristic generation while cautioning against the delusion that the instantaneousness of electronic media can replace the substantiality of genuine human relationship.

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