Jerome Charyn releases new book on Bronx experiences

Charyn has said that a big part of his motivation to write this book stems from Moses’ actions in the Bronx during the 1950s and 60s.
Photo courtesy of Mariana Cook

A Bronx-born author has stories to tell about his hometown borough.

On Monday, June 1, established author Jerome Charyn released a new book, titled ‘Bitter Bronx: Thirteen Stories’, a publication that describes Charyn’s experiences of living in the Bronx.

The book was published by the Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company.

In ‘Bitter Bronx: Thirteen Stories’, Charyn explains his perceptions of life as a kid growing up in the Bronx.

Throughout the stories, he shares his many personal experiences including walking along the Grand Concourse, falling in love with three voluptuous librarians in the south Bronx and eating at mob-owned restaurants along Arthur Avenue.

Among other reflections in the book, three interconnected stories, ‘Silk & Silk’, ‘Little Sister’ and ‘Marla’ are sure to interest readers, especially if they were born and/or raised in the Bronx.

One of the stories discusses master builder Robert Moses’ ‘savior’ plan to build a highway (the Cross Bronx Expressway, built between 1948-72) while dynamiting and destroying entire Bronx neighborhoods in the process.

“The central sadness of these stories is the breakdown of vibrant lower middle class communities through the tyranny and madness of one man – Robert Moses,” said Charyn.

“However, out of the anger and sadness that Moses caused grew a very strange flower, and these stories are about love, not about hate – these are love stories and a tribute to the history of the Bronx.”

“In all honesty, I couldn’t have written this book without that strange man who caused such heartbreak to people in the Bronx. He impoverished them and their borough in so many ways.”

Charyn, who now lives in Manhattan and splits his time between New York and France, has lived in multiple cities across the United States and Europe and has released 35 fiction books and 11 non-fiction books including this one.

As a student, he majored in painting at the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan before turning to literature when he enrolled at Columbia University, studying history and comparative literature with a focus in Russian literature. He eventually graduated Phi Beta Kappa and cum laude with a BA in 1959.

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 742–3384. E-mail him at sgoodstein@cnglocal.com.
Book cover of ‘Bitter Bronx: Thirteen Stories’.
Photo courtesy of Mariana Cook

More from Around NYC

>