The writings of  Richard Kluger

National Anthem

The Critical Response


CHICAGO TRIBUNE (Kenneth Lamott): “National Anthem is a funny, sardonic book, pertinent to a world in which the creation of outrageous comedy is one of the few responses left to a sane man. By this test, Richard Kluger is clearly sane. He also has at his command an admirable gift for comic invention…. Like all truly comic writers, Kluger is involved in serious business…. National Anthem is Kluger’s personal statement. It is an admirable one.”


WASHINGTON STAR (John Greenya): “…Good satire and good fun, though not good clean fun in the strictest sense, but what raises this book above the many like it is that Kluger has what so many of the current satirists lack – good taste. He doesn’t shock indiscriminately, and he always writes well. The truth beneath the satirical surface may seem improbable, but it is far from impossible.”


THE NEW YORKER: “Mr. Kluger writes smoothly in the first person and the present tense, with much comic hyperbole.”


HOLLYWOOD REPORTER (James Powers): “…Written with such gusto that the reader gets the impression that the writer enjoyed putting it all down as much as the reader enjoys picking it up. A rare experience these days…. Incident, dialogue and character [are] first-rate…. It would make a great comic movie.”


SATURDAY REVIEW (Joseph Haas): “[T]his frenetic, wildly witty, and imaginative novel is concerned with Kwait’s antisocial behavior…. sophisticated and exhilarating…. If only Richard Kluger could have left Kwait, and all of us, with some hope that resistance is not in vain. But perhaps he is too much of a realist for that.”


[LONDON] DAILY TELEGRAPH (Iain Hamilton): “As funny a novel as I have read in many a long day.”


MIAMI HERALD (Beatrice Washburn): “It is a humorous picture of a generation lying between the one generally termed lost and the hippies and the beatniks of today.”


MILWAUKEE JOURNAL: “…[H]is framework provides Richard Kluger with a chance to satirize various large and small segments of American life, and he does an excellent job. His writing is crisp, his imagination impressive, his funnybone prominent. And miracle of miracles, he exhibits good taste. When he shocks, it is for a purpose.”


CHICAGO DAILY NEWS (Henry Kisor): “This is a fine satire with lots of comic inventiveness, and like all practitioners of the absurd, Mr. Kluger doesn’t really find the conditions that provoke it so very funny.”


HUDSON REVIEW (Joyce Carol Oates): “National Anthem is antic and exuberant and witty…. ‘There are a lot of tyrants to depose,’ Kluger states wisely.”


THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT [London]: “Mr. Kluger follows the trend toward hilarious nihilism with inventive devotion, adding several twists and talents of his own. He is a better storyteller than most of his colleagues, his non sequiturs are more plausible, his sociological sense of the possibilities for satire more acute. National Anthem must be one of the first novels to examine – which it does brilliantly – the implications of using calculated violence in the name of noble causes, and to show such violence as simply the use of the old ethos for different purposes. It is a pity that this mode of writing is collecting a considerable school of satirical novelists: at any other time, National Anthem would seem an outstandingly successful example of black social comedy….”


GLASGOW [Scotland] HERALD (James Davie): “It is all enormous fun. It is also witty and wise.”




©2017 Richard Kluger