"When a new Ken Kalfus novel appears I stop eating, drinking, shaving and breathing until I finish it. Equilateral is one of his smartest and most ambitious books yet. It left me thinking and wondering well past my bedtime. "
—Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story
A Disorder Peculiar to the Country
"Through the interbleeding of public and private story lines and his lampooning approach, Kalfus has an evident mission: freeing the way we think about Sept. 11 and the war on terror from a ready-made mold, the rigid cast of a hardening historical view. If hyperbole can be weaponized anywhere in literature, it is here. Do the destructions of a home and the homeland bear similarity? Joyce, resenting her former belief that the country was protectively isolated, thinks, 'Someone had lied to them as shamelessly as a spouse.'"
—Art Winslow, The Los Angeles Times
The Commissariat of Enlightenment
"Kalfus is doing what most gifted historical novelists do: picking one of the moments when the star of modernity first appeared in the sky, then staring at it until its very gravity seems to increase, drawing into its orbit any stray comets in the vicinity. [He] is foreshadowing a revolution, just not the one we think. For all his contagious fascination with 20th century Russian history, he's finally less interested in Bolshevism's overthrow of the bourgeoisie than in film's overthrow of fiction, the eclipse of the novel by mere novelty."
—David Kipen, The San Francisco Chronicle ("From Russia with brains: A dying Tolstoy sparks brilliant riffs about the birth of modernity")
And Other Russian Fantasies
"Kalfus is not a political writer, really. He loves to tell stories, loves imagining other people's lives and experiences, and we can sense this in the delicate unraveling of each plot, of each sentence. There is, among us, a storyteller - how rare a gift this is!"
—Keith Gessen, The Boston Book Review ("A Storyteller Among the Ruins")
"Throughout this collection, the door is open to such unsettling ambiguity; always a tantalizing ''perhaps'' is in play..... Ken Kalfus lights his stories with this fundamental strangeness. The displaced figures in Thirst drift through worlds that are at once astonishing and familiar. They'd like to wake up in their own beds after a good night's sleep, but even that blessing would, we suspect, have the word ''perhaps'' in it somewhere."
—Ron Carlson, The New York Times Book Review ("Invisible Malls, Imaginary Baseball: Anything is plausible in one or another of these short stories")