The explosive collection by the celebrated author of Thirst and PEN/Faulkner Award finalist Pu-239 and Other Russian Fantasies, Coup de Foudre is the kind of groundbreaking work of literary invention Ken Kalfus’s fans have come to expect. The book is anchored by the full text of the provocatively topical title novella that appeared in Harper’s, a sometimes farcical, ultimately tragic story about the president of an international lending institution accused of sexually assaulting a housekeeper in a New York hotel. Recalling recent news events with irony and compassion, Kalfus skewers international political gridlock and the hypocrisies of acceptable sexual conduct.
In “The Moment They Were Waiting For,” a murderer on death row casts a spell granting the inhabitants of his city the foreknowledge of the dates they will die. In “v. The Large Hadron Collider,” a judge distracted by the faint possibility of an adulterous affair must decide whether to throw out a nuisance lawsuit that raises the even fainter possibility that the entire Earth may be destroyed. “The Un-” is a nostalgic story of a young writer’s struggles as he tries to surmount the colossal, heavily guarded wall that apparently separates writers who have been published from those who have not.
Varying boldly in theme, setting, and tone, the stories in Coup de Foudre share Kalfus’s distinctive humor and intellect, inextricably bound with high literary ambition.