BOOK REVIEW: Blue Eyes by Jerome Charyn


Review by Ryder Islington

 Mr. Charyn has a distinctive voice and Blue Eyes boasts unique characters, including Shotgun Coen, a blue-eyed, white-skinned Jewish detective who is scorned by fellow bulls, Odile, a porn star, andChino, a half Chinese thug who hates Coen and loves Odile despite her abhorrence of him.

 Set in New York Cityin the seventies, Blue Eyes is ripe with a language so full of local colloquialisms that one sometimes needs a lexicon to understand it. The writing is intense. The story is not.

 I had no sympathy for any of the characters, save one: Jeronimo Guzmann, known as Baby, the simple-minded youngest son of Cesar Guzmann. Cesar, known as Papa, has five sons and runs a ring of pickpockets out of a candy shop. Jeronimo, known as Baby, loves candy, ice cream and long walks, and can easily fall victim to anyone with a modicum of sense. His best friend is detective Coen’s uncle, who loves company in his run-down welfare apartment.

 I trudged through the story and can only appreciate that it is short. I like being taken to unfamiliar places, and love to meet new characters, but I can’t enjoy a story I have to decipher. The few words or phrases that came with any definition also came in parentheses, which threw me off. Mr. Charyn is a skilled writer with a good imagination and I’m sure he has found, and will find devoted fans.