In my opinion, Steve Katz is the greatest living novelist in English, and the one most likely to keep our hearts and minds in good working order, to keep us truly human in a world where brainless tech-loving Moorlocks hog the sunshine, and thoughtful, life-loving Eloi have been driven underground.
Like a soapbox preacher on a poetic rant, Steve Katz declares, “Dysfiction is right now and beyond.” Kissssssssssss is a miscellany swarming with American kooks and modern primitives who demonstrate the absurdity of our reality. A man’s head detaches during cunnilingus then continuously recites scientific formulas of flight. In a parallel universe Los Angeles, a young boy embarks on a strange bildungsroman to avoid being eaten by his parents. An African Grey parrot pontificates on the plight of parrots in war-torn countries.
Applying syncopated language and Anthony Burgess–esque hyper-slang, Katz interweaves the iconic traumas of the 21st century with prescription drug commercials and sub-cultural body modification, reflexively avowing that the absurd is our reality: “In our times the trivial is typical, and the typical is not what we need.” Like Katz’s characters, we choose to sit quietly amidst the horrific banality of the world or purge our fears with sick laughter.
Steve Katz comes off the loping forward rush of his latest masterful novel, Antonello’s Lion, with a collection of short pieces: acerbic, innovative, humorous and above all, perversely engaging.
Steve Katz’s comic genius is subversive. Readers beware. You may die laughing.
Steve Katz is an American treasure: a delirious imagination in a major stylist. His 2006 novel, Antonello’s Lion, is an epic comic lament. Reading these stories you can imagine Flann O’Brien crossed with Nathanael West. No one has chronicled the impact of the women’s movement more vividly and with less bias. No one has performed more loving surgery on the international art scene.
One anticipates that with the publication of his recent masterwork, Swanny’s Ways, critically acclaimed yet largely overlooked writer Steve Katz will receive the serious attention he deserves.
Saw is a milestone novel of the seventies. It is the first work of fiction ever to hide a hippopotamous. For the first time what has come to be recognized as a common modern neurosis, astronaut angst, gets full play in the fictional universe. For the first time anywhere in the history of fiction, in one of the most passionate encounters ever written, Eileen mates with a Sphere. Solid geometry finally has a face. The Cylinder is a nemesis, and its terrifying accomplishments rill on like a nightmare for this astronaut. This is a work of science fiction, geometric fiction, irrefutable fact, and gourmand fantasies.
Steve Katz, whose Swanny’s Way won the American Award in fiction in 1995, was acclaimed for this novel by the New York Times Book Review as a “… witty fantasist who can homogenize pop detritus, campy slang and halluncination to achieve inspired chaos.
Like Rimbaud, Steve Katz was formed of ice and polar nights, and as always he is much alive, hurt and hurting, loved and loving, a contentious knight of Hope out to do battle with the toothless electronic Dragon of Commerce.
Written throughout the ’70s, these stories, prose delicacies, extravaganzas of American language, are set in New York City, the Idaho and Oregon wilderness, Indiana middle America, Mobay, Jamaica — all places lit by a thieving imagination — featuring talking dogs, a man made of wax, a lover packaged in a disposable tube, Rastafarian evenings, the art world expurgated, bumpkins, lions, perfect relationships — funny stories, stories of conviction, written with passion and clarity — molecules of language embossed on the motions of the heart.
What Katz has done is open up another dimension of communication within the closed idea of what constitutes the novel.… The book is a positive step into the unique atmosphere of today, it shakes off the past like a heavy, dull stone; it is healthy and bold (in a curiously modest way) and gives hope to fiction and the elastic resources of the human head.
Katz is the closest to being a jazz musician with language, using his gift for sound and circumstance to create dazzling.
A scandalous fantasy in which He gets under Her skin, but can’t get into her identity; the arrival in the morning mail of a mysterious parcel of wrists set him in pursuit; the author takes a real life trip in search of his own fictional Tennessee; an idyll on the quirkiness of the irrepressible number 43. These are the four Moving Parts through which obsession exfoliates identity. These four come together for the first time ever in the West or the East in a unique and innovative book, creating a resonance known only to a few in the far North buried under 86 feet of snow, where you must never touch your tongue to the blade of your knife.