Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chronic City delivers

Gorgeous. Aching beauty. Electrifying prose. Surreal, extraordinary, stunning, exuberant. Even those - and there are many - who don't much care for Jonathan Lethem's books agree that his prose is fantastic. What don't they like? The most common complaints cite over-the-top-ness.

For those of us who enjoy that kind of trip, Chronic City is a knock-out!

What's it about? Well ... hmmm ... it's about us and our culture and modern disconnect and all that. The setting is Manhattan; a dense relentless fog covers the financial district, an escaped tiger keeps snarling subway traffic, a doomed space station floats above, the New York Times offers a war-free edition, and Lethem's Everyman, Chase Insteadman, smokes pot and ponders reality and illusion with with his friend cultural critic and former Rolling Stone columnist, Perkus Tooth. Migraines, hiccups, chasms, and ghostwriters figure prominently, along with a pervasive smell of chocolate.

If you're new to Jonathan Lethem, his website is a good place to start for a taste of this author.

If you're not sure you're ready for Chronic City, try this excerpt published in the New Yorker, May 25, 2009.

And if you're ready to roll, right on over the top, Chronic City and the complete works of Jonathan Lethem await - at your library, of course!

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