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.
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“Packed into Lift Your Right Arm are conundrums, Abbott-and-Costello dialogues, nonsense narratives and other playful—sometimes hilarious, sometimes subversive—assaults on logic. To Gödel, Escher, and Bach we might consider adding Peter Cherches.”Billy Collins
“Peter Cherches is one of the stingiest writers going—stingy with words, that is. He won’t use ten words if he can get away with five, and he won’t write a novel if he can convey its pith in a page. This book, then, is the equivalent of a whole shelf of books. Read slowly, it can last you for years.”Luc Sante
“I swear, Peter Cherches is a bloody Boy Scout, blazing trail after trial after Tenderfoot trooper Kafka in this new manual of terrifying trifles, Lift Your Right Arm. He over qualifies for the merit badge of knotting knotty knots. His hitched fictions—bent and twisted, worsted and loopy—articulate the inarticulate. They tie you up; they tie you off; they tie-dye you. These skeins of embroidered language fray, frayed and fraying till the bitter bitterest end.”Michael Martone
Author of Four for a Quarter and Michael Martone
“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.”Publishers Weekly
Peter Cherches is the author of two previous volumes of short prose, Condensed Book and Between a Dream and a Cup of Coffee. 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 was active, on page and on stage, in the raucous and unpredictable literary, music and performance scenes of downtown Manhattan in the 1980s. Sonorexia, the avant-vaudeville music/performance group he co-led with Elliott Sharp, appeared at such legendary venues as The Mudd Club and CBGB. 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.