When someone as accomplished as Joyce Carol Oates decides that your work is worthy of her esteem, what better publicity could you ask for? David Czuchlewski, recent Princeton grad, has received this wondrous pat on the back from his former professor for his work on THE MUSE ASYLUM, a graduate thesis novel that is making its public debut next month.
Czuchlewski's prose is perfection. Every line is clean and crisp and...well, for lack of a better word, perfect. THE MUSE ASYLUM, with its tale of obsession among an emotionally crippled genius writer in an institution for gifted but unsteady artists, a lost writing legend, a cub reporter with dreams of glory, and the girl that seems to get stuck in the middle of their every interaction, is a twisting, turning, whirling dervish of a story. You will barely be able to put it down once you have started.
The most interesting of the various subplots concerns the troubled genius' obsession with the modern novelist Horace Jacob Little and the way in which the irony and magic realism of Little's work preys on the already overloaded brain of his most intense admirer. This play between reader/writer and writer is a compelling look at the way some writers work their way into your brain and stay there, regardless of how farfetched their work may be. Andrew Wallace, the hapless gifted writer obsessed, is a fascinating character, explored with equal parts grace and gusto by this first-time novelist (who is also a third-year medical student at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine --- talk about overachieving!).
Czuchlewski's THE MUSE ASYLUM is a completely original and expertly executed tome that should find its way onto many readers' must-read lists as soon as it appears on bookstore shelves.
Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on May 17, 2001
The Muse Asylum