Whistler's Mother's Son

Peter Cherches

How do you begin to describe a collection of over 100 short prose pieces of varying length and styles when the only thing they all have in common is weirdness? Maybe you say it features parodies, standardized tests, nursery-rhyme anxieties, fables, riddles, collaborations, conundrums, rescued clichés, abominations-in-training, dark Americana, existential misdemeanors, misbegotten mysteries, identity crises, optimistic nihilism, formal experimentation, and polyrhythmic prose, with a side of word salad. Maybe you say it runs the stylistic gamut from minimalism to satire to noir to children's tale to abstraction to surrealism. Maybe you say the characters include Hamlet, Gertrude Stein, Amelia Earhart, Fred Flintstone, Mr. Mondrian, a little girl whose mother takes up with a smelly old man, embattled aunties and uncles, a man with two mustaches, several hard-boiled dicks, and an eternally confused Peter Cherches. Or maybe you just read the book and leave such worries to the very talented copywriter.

“If Donald Barthelme had grown up on Rocky and Bullwinkle, Bob Newhart’s telephone routines, and Terry Southern’s The Magic Christian—with a dash of Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus thrown in—then he might have turned out to be Peter Cherches instead. Cherches is simply one of the funniest writers I’ve read in years. And one of the best.” Tom Carson, author of Gilligan’s Wake

“I love to read Peter Cherches' world always, but sometimes I feel like I'm a character in it. Help me! I'm stuck inside a Peter Cherches blurb! Liltingly bizarre, awesomely askew, and funnyfunnyfunny!” Bob Holman

“Minimalist wit has never been so maximal in effect or ambit. Cherches’ ironies don’t obey the sidewalk law of step on a crack and you’ll break your mother’s back. They put their feet down solid and exact—chunky, radiant, double-comprendres and paradoxes made terse. Apart from Peter Cherches, I don’t know where you’ll find nuggets of gold and fool’s gold as crazy-true-and-false as these.” Rafi Zabor, author of The Bear Comes Home

Called “one of the innovators of the short short story” by Publishers Weekly, Peter Cherches is a writer, singer and lyricist. Over the past 40 years his writing, both fiction and nonfiction, has appeared in dozens of magazines, anthologies and websites. His first recording as a jazz vocalist, Mercerized! Songs of Johnny Mercer, was released in 2016. He is the author of three previous prose collections, including Lift Your Right Arm and Autobiography Without Words, both published by Pelekinesis. Cherches is a native of Brooklyn, New York.