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Interview with Adam Kluger on Desperate Times: Short Stories

By nmurray, Jan 18 2018 03:13PM

My guest today is Adam Kluger, he is a is a New York City writer and artist and distant cousin of famed British sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein. Kluger attended the same high school as Jack Kerouac and draws inspiration from diverse literary sources that include Charles Bukowski, John Fante, Ernest Hemingway, and Herman Melville as well as artists Jean Dubuffet, Andy Warhol, Bob Ross, Eric Payson, and Pablo Picasso. Kluger is one of the leaders of New York's growing Anti-Art movement.

To date, Kluger has had over 35 short-stories published by various literary magazines and literary-arts outlets in the U.S., U.K., and Ireland along with 35+ pieces of his artwork.

Welcome Adam, please tell everyone about your writing journey and your new book Desperate Times.

Why Bukowski?

There are a lot of reasons. The humor, the honesty, the accessibility. When you find a writer that speaks to you-- like music - you just really appreciate it. Bukowski deserves all the love he gets. His writing delivers. Post Office, Women, Love is a Dog From Hell, Barfly, Ham on Rye, Hollywood and pretty much every book he ever wrote-- I've read them all and will keep re-reading them. The prose, the poetry - so good. His film with Barbet Schroeder- The Bukowski Tapes is just amazing. I could watch it over and over. Bukowski revered and promoted John Fante, who was also a terrific writer. Bukowski, to his credit also had the courage to criticize many of the literary world's over-rated writers--as being pompous and unreadable --which was criticism that was frankly long overdue.


Same thing. Hemingway knew how to write beautiful, sparse prose and he delivered. I loved his Iceberg theory and his other theories on writing. Old Man & The Sea is a classic but so too are most of his short stories like The Killers, A Well Lighted Place and The Three Day Blow. I also really enjoyed his Green Hills of Africa. An important writer.


Catcher in The Rye. Masterpiece. Franny & Zooey also praise-worthy. And his Nine Stories. Salinger was a good short story writer. A Perfect Day for Bananafish was powerful and memorable


F. Scott Fitzgerald?

Love Fitzgerald. So good. So talented. Gatsby was brilliant but his short stories were also worthy of notice from Bernice Bobs Her Hair to a Diamond as Big as the Ritz to the hilarious Pat Hobby Stories. To become the voice of a generation means you're pretty good.

What is Guy Lit?

A label. People come up with labels. Who knows why? The truth of the matter is that Desperate Times is simply a collection of flash fiction and short stories about male protagonists who find themselves facing various conflicts. These stories do owe quite a bit to the rich American short story traditions that these previously mentioned literary giants (Bukowski, Hemingway) have already set forth. It's hard not to be inspired by their books and advice on writing. One modern writer I love just for his understanding of dialogue is David Mamet. Glengarry Glen Ross, Hurly Burly, Speed The Plow. Doesn't matter if you are writing for the stage or a short story. Great dialogue is great dialogue.

Others Literary heroes?

Melville and Kerouac have all impacted me in various ways. How can you not read Moby Dick over and over and over and marvel at the timeless poetry within? Oscar Wilde's gorgeous use of description in his short stories is almost like that of a painter. Capote's facility with language at such a young age, Faulkner's America , Kerouac's exuberant jazz-like explorations, O'Henry's incredible sense of humor and use of Twain-like twists of phrasing. There are so many incredible American Short Story Writers. My hope is that folks who pick up Desperate Times, might also decide to explore America's great Short Story traditions.

Any other Short story writers that have caught your attention?

James Joyce, I love Dubliners which I just came across recently at a book fair in Kent, Ct. Joyce's writing style is such a pleasure to read and his ability to deliver a meaningful and resonant short story is so impressive. While not a short story, I was greatly impressed recently by the classic French coming of age novel The Wanderer by Henri Alain Fournier. Also, I'm just now digging into the collected stories of Guy De Maupassant and was immediately blown away by the sheer beauty and profundity of Moonlight. I also picked up a dog-eared copy

To date, Kluger has had over 35 short-stories published by various literary magazines and literary-arts outlets in the U.S., U.K., and Ireland along with 35+ pieces of his artwork. Those stories include such titles as: “Moira, Actually,” “Lady Marmalade & the Ratcatcher,” “Unprecedented,” “The Worst Hangover,” “The Mentor,” “Our Kind Of Town,” “The Sixth Floor,” “The Rain Washed Him Clean,” “A Weird Duck,” “Good Morning Mr. Schmertz,” “The Party,” “A Lost Cause,” "Beaten But Unbowed,” “All Around Town,” “Out of Place,” “A Lost Cause,” “Fingers & Toes,” “The Post Office,” “The Rise & Fall of Johnny Thunders,” and “A Cup of Coffee.”

Those Literary Arts Magazines include: Blue Fifth, Story Shack, Outsider, Meat for Tea, Literally Stories, Jotters United, Turk’s Head Review, Empty Sink, Smokebox, Winamop, Spelk, No Extra Words, Former People, Flash Frontier, Third Wednesday, Zombie Logic, Head Stuff, Potluck, Gloom Cupboard & Literary Juice. Kluger is a proud dad and a terrible golfer who credits his current literary and art-world success to hard work, a willingness to completely ignore all the rules and the kindness and unflagging support of family and friends.

Thanks Adam, it's obvious that you are enjoying being a writer. Below are some editorial reviews

Turkey Burger Deluxe

"This bittersweet story is as good as your art work, Adam - and that's saying something! I was sitting at a nearby table watching and feeling the whole thing. Sometimes you want to cry at the sadness of life - and a smile and a hug does help. I'd say that was the deluxe moment". -June Griffin, Editor, Literally Stories

"This illustrates the vagaries of quotidian life - upset over small matters, while missing the wonders."

- Doug Hawley, Literally Stories

"Everyday heroes. Love it." -Mitchell Toews, Literally Stories

A Walk in The Woods

"Such a great story. I love the contrast between who we are and who we are deep down. It reminds me of the 'men's trip' from Fante's work... I wanna say Brotherhood of the Grape; and the more we obtain the more basic and existence we crave. Loved it." -David Louden, Literally Stories

"The interaction between the characters was very real. This was well constructed, well thought out and superbly written.

I enjoyed the observations here on a guy at the start of middle age, dissatisfied and worried with work and out on the weekend with a bunch of friends, doing something to maybe try to stay young. Interesting to start with the dream too, and then end it and throw the reader into something very different but highly relevant, I thought. And a wicked collection of character's names. Bravo!" -Richard Ardus, Literally Stories

A Weird Duck

"At the heart of this hilarious and perceptive story we have Franz Mugler, an unforgettable character who is indeed one weird duck!" -Editors, Headstuff

"You have many strings to your writing bow but I honestly think that you are at your best when writing about your vast array of colourful characters." -Hugh Cron, Editor, Literally Stories

Are We Both Broken?

"I found some deep truths in this, where the objects we own or surround us provide the subtle evidence of who we are, rather than who we think we are." -James McEwan, Literally Stories

"I love this thoughtful piece in which every word counts. Thank you!" -Fran Macilvey, Literally Stories

"My heart jumped with joy at the wonderfulness of the story, while my eyes delighted in the awesomeness of the art work. My memory knew this extraordinary submission was unforgettable, while my cup runneth over. One of your best, Adam!

This was brilliant. It is something that we can all relate to in the fact of our objects saying more about us than we can do ourselves." - June Griffin, Editor, Literally Stories


"Your best line EVER is within this story!!" -Hugh Cron, Editor, Literally Stories

"Words fail me." - June Griffin, Editor, Literally Stories

High & Low

"Your works are always so well put together, like a fine watch." -Irene Allison, Literally Stories

I"'ve always noticed two common traits in your work - good dialogue and well-drawn, believable characters. More of the same here and another enjoyable read." -Nik Everleigh, Literally Stories

Better Living Through Better Chemistry

"I enjoyed much of the writing in this, in particular how I formed my image of the psychiatrist through the thoughts of Roderick. I saw an elderly spinster lady, old fashioned, and yet attractive. An engrossing read over all." - James McEwan, Literally Stories

What Would Breslin Have Thought?

"Being on the wrong side of desire and Jimmy Breslin is and was like being locked in a phone booth with a rabid bobcat. McGrewster is doomed. He likes it. No doubt. Breslin and phone booths are dead. But want and bobcats live on. Very nice." - WalkingBossCooper, Literally Stories

"You never wasted one word on this story. So much depth, so much character within a very small word count. Excellent." -Hugh Cron, Editor, Literally Stories

If you are interest in finding out more about Adam's work, then please visit his website at or to get your copy of Desperate Times, then visit Amazon

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