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About Jonathan Lethem
He is the author of seven novels including Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn, which was named Novel of the Year by Esquire and won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Salon Book Award, as well as the Macallan Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger.
He has also written two short story collections, a novella and a collection of essays, edited The Vintage Book of Amnesia, guest-edited The Year's Best Music Writing 2002, and was the founding fiction editor of Fence magazine.
His writings have appeared in the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, McSweeney's and many other periodicals.
He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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Jonathan Lethem and Kevin Dettmar's Shake It Up invites the reader into the tumult and excitement of the rock revolution through fifty landmark pieces by a supergroup of writers on rock in all its variety, from heavy metal to disco, punk to hip-hop. Stanley Booth describes a recording session with Otis Redding; Ellen Willis traces the meteoric career of Janis Joplin; Ellen Sander recalls the chaotic world of Led Zeppelin on tour; Nick Tosches etches a portrait of the young Jerry Lee Lewis; Eve Babitz remembers Jim Morrison. Alongside are Lenny Kaye on acapella and Greg Tate on hip-hop, Vince Aletti on disco and Gerald Early on Motown; Robert Christgau on Prince, Nelson George on Marvin Gaye, Luc Sante on Bob Dylan, Hilton Als on Michael Jackson, Anthony DeCurtis on the Rolling Stones, Kelefa Sanneh on Jay Z.
The story this anthology tells is a ongoing one: “it’s too early,” editors Jonathan Lethem and Kevin Dettmar note, “for canon formation in a field so marvelously volatile—a volatility that mirrors, still, that of pop music itself, which remains smokestack lightning. The writing here attempts to catch some in a bottle.”
NAT HENTOFF on BOB DYLAN
AMIRI BARAKA on R&B
LESTER BANGS on ELVIS PRESLEY
ROBERT CHRISTGAU on PRINCE
DEBRA RAE COHEN on DAVID BOWIE
EVE BABITZ on JIM MORRISON
ROBERT PALMER on SAM COOKE
CHUCK KLOSTERMAN on HEAVY METAL
JESSICA HOPPER on EMO
JOHN JEREMIAH SULLIVAN on AXL ROSE
ELIJAH WALD on THE BEATLES
GREIL MARCUS on CHRISTIAN MARCLAY
For Jonathan Lethem, “crime stories are deep species gossip.” He writes in his introduction that “they’re fundamentally stories of power, of its exercise, both spontaneous and conspiratorial; stories of impulse and desire, and of the turning of tables.” The Best American Mystery Stories 2019 has its full share of salacious intrigue, guilt, and retribution. The twists and bad decisions pile up when a thief picks the wrong target or a simple scavenger hunt takes a terrible turn. What happens when you befriend a death row inmate, or just how does writing Internet clickbait became a decidedly dangerous occupation? “How can we not hang on their outcomes?” asks Lethem. “Are we innocent ourselves, or complicit?” Read on to find out.
The Best American Mystery Stories 2019 includes Sharon Hunt, Harley Jane Kozak, Mark Mayer, Jennifer McMahon, Joyce Carol Oates, Brian Panowich, Tonya D. Price, Ron Rash, Robb T. White, and others.
From the award-winning author of The Feral Detective and Motherless Brooklyn comes an utterly original post-collapse yarn about two siblings, the man that came between them, and a nuclear-powered super car.
The Arrest isn’t post-apocalypse. It isn’t a dystopia. It isn’t a utopia. It’s just what happens when much of what we take for granted—cars, guns, computers, and airplanes, for starters—quits working. . . .
Before the Arrest, Sandy Duplessis had a reasonably good life as a screenwriter in L.A. An old college friend and writing partner, the charismatic and malicious Peter Todbaum, had become one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. That didn’t hurt.
Now, post-Arrest, nothing is what it was. Sandy, who calls himself Journeyman, has landed in rural Maine. There he assists the butcher and delivers the food grown by his sister, Maddy, at her organic farm. But then Todbaum shows up in an extraordinary vehicle: a retrofitted tunnel-digger powered by a nuclear reactor. Todbaum has spent the Arrest smashing his way across a fragmented and phantasmagorical United States, trailing enmities all the way. Plopping back into the siblings’ life with his usual odious panache, his motives are entirely unclear. Can it be that Todbaum wants to produce one more extravaganza? Whatever he’s up to, it may fall to Journeyman to stop him.
Written with unrepentant joy and shot through with just the right amount of contemporary dread, The Arrest is speculative fiction at its absolute finest.
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and a New York Times Notable Book
"Utterly original and deeply moving." —Esquire
Brooklyn's very own self-appointed Human Freakshow, Lionel Essrog is an orphan whose Tourettic impulses drive him to bark, count, and rip apart our language in startling and original ways. Together with three veterans of the St. Vincent's Home for Boys, he works for small-time mobster Frank Minna's limo service cum detective agency. Life without Frank Minna, the charismatic King of Brooklyn, would be unimaginable, so who cares if the tasks he sets them are, well, not exactly legal.
But when Frank is fatally stabbed, one of Lionel's colleagues lands in jail, the other two vie for his position, and the victim's widow skips town. Lionel's world is suddenly topsy-turvy, and this outcast who has trouble even conversing attempts to untangle the threads of the case while trying to keep the words straight in his head.
Motherless Brooklyn is a brilliantly original, captivating homage to the classic detective novel by one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation.
A hard-boiled detective tale full of talking animals and murder, from the award-winning author of Motherless Brooklyn and The Arrest.Gumshoe Conrad Metcalf has problems—there's a rabbit in his waiting room and a trigger-happy kangaroo on his tail. Near-future Oakland is a brave new world where evolved animals are members of society, the police monitor citizens by their karma levels, and mind-numbing drugs such as Forgettol and Acceptol are all the rage.
Mixing elements of sci-fi, noir, and mystery, this clever first novel from a beloved author is a wry, funny, and satiric look at all that the future may hold.
Metcalf has been shadowing Celeste, the wife of an affluent doctor. Perhaps he's falling a little in love with her at the same time. When the doctor turns up dead, our amiable investigator finds himself caught in a crossfire between the boys from the Inquisitor's Office and gangsters who operate out of the back room of a bar called the Fickle Muse.
“Marvelous…Stylish, intelligent, darkly humorous, and highly readable entertainment.”—San Francisco Examiner
From the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author of Motherless Brooklyn, comes the vividly told story of Dylan Ebdus growing up white and motherless in downtown Brooklyn in the 1970s. In a neighborhood where the entertainments include muggings along with games of stoopball, Dylan has one friend, a black teenager, also motherless, named Mingus Rude. Through the knitting and unraveling of the boys' friendship, Lethem creates an overwhelmingly rich and emotionally gripping canvas of race and class, superheros, gentrification, funk, hip-hop, graffiti tagging, loyalty, and memory.
"A tour de force.... Belongs to a venerable New York literary tradition that stretches back through Go Tell It on the Mountain, A Walker in the City, and Call it Sleep." --The New York Times Magazine
"One of the richest, messiest, most ambitious, most interesting novels of the year.... Lethem grabs and captures 1970s New York City, and he brings it to a story worth telling." --Time
One the irrepressibly inventive Jonathan Lethem could weld science fiction and the Western into a mesmerizing novel of exploration and otherness, sexual awakening and loss. At the age of 13 Pella Marsh loses her mother and her home on the scorched husk that is planet Earth. Her sorrowing family emigrates to the Planet of the Archbuilders, whose mysterious inhabitants have names like Lonely Dumptruck and Hiding Kneel—and a civilization that and frightens their human visitors.
On this new world, spikily independent Pella becomes as uneasy envoy between two species. And at the same time is unwilling drawn to a violent loner who embodies all the paranoid machismo of the frontier ethic. Combining the tragic grandeur of John Ford's The Searchers and the sexual tension of Lolita and transporting them to a planet light years, Girl in Landscape is a tour de force.
Jonathan Lethem’s first detective novel since Motherless Brooklyn
“One of America’s greatest storytellers.” —Washington Post
Phoebe Siegler first meets Charles Heist in a shabby trailer on the eastern edge of Los Angeles. She’s looking for her friend’s missing daughter, Arabella, and hires Heist to help. A laconic loner who keeps his pet opossum in a desk drawer, Heist intrigues the sarcastic and garrulous Phoebe. Reluctantly, he agrees to help. The unlikely pair navigate the enclaves of desert-dwelling vagabonds and find that Arabella is in serious trouble—caught in the middle of a violent standoff that only Heist, mysteriously, can end. Phoebe’s trip to the desert was always going to be strange, but it was never supposed to be dangerous. . . .
Jonathan Lethem’s first detective novel since Motherless Brooklyn, The Feral Detective is a singular achievement by one of our greatest writers.
Anna Karenina left her husband for a dashing officer. Lady Chatterley left hers for the gamekeeper. Now Alice Coombs has her boyfriend for nothing … nothing at all. Just how that should have come to pass and what Philip Engstrand, Alice’s spurned boyfriend, can do about it is the premise for this vertiginous speculative romance by the acclaimed author of Gun, with Occasional Music.
Alice Coombs is a particle physicist, and she and her colleagues have created a void, a hole in the universe, that they have taken to calling Lack. But Lack is a nullity with taste—tastes; it absorbs a pomegranate, light bulbs, an argyle sock; it disdains a bow tie, an ice ax, and a scrambled duck egg. To Alice, this selectivity translates as an irresistible personality. To Philip, it makes Lack an unbeatable rival, for how can he win Alice back from something that has no flaws—because it has no qualities? Ingenious, hilarious, and genuinely mind-expanding, As She Climbed Across the Table is the best boy-meets-girl-meets-void story ever written.
More Alive and Less Lonely collects over a decade of Jonathan Lethem’s finest writing on writing, with new and previously unpublished material, including: impassioned appreciations of forgotten writers and overlooked books, razor-sharp critical essays, and personal accounts of his most extraordinary literary encounters and discoveries.
Only Lethem, with his love of cult favorites and the canon alike, can write with equal insight into classic writers like Charles Dickens and Herman Melville, modern masters like Lorrie Moore and Thomas Pynchon, graphic novelist Chester Brown, and science fiction outlier Philip K. Dick.
Sharing his infectious love for books of all kinds, More Alive and Less Lonely is a bracing voyage of literary discovery and an essential addition to every booklover’s shelf.
Alexander Bruno travels the world playing high stakes backgammon and hunting for amateur “whales” who think they can challenge him. Lately he’s had a run of bad luck, not helped by the blot that has emerged in his field of vision, which forces him to look at the board sideways. As the blot grows larger, his game gets worse, until, at an opulent mansion in Berlin, he passes out in the middle of a match and receives an alarming diagnosis.
Out of money and out of friends, he turns to the only person who can help (and the last person he wants to see): a high-rolling former childhood acquaintance who agrees to pay for Bruno’s experimental surgery in Berkeley. But Berkeley is the place where Bruno discovered his psychic gift and where he vowed never to return. There, forced to confront patchouli flashbacks and his uncertain future, he must ask himself: Is he playing the game, or is the game playing him?