It was a kind of ritual offering: Told that a neighbor on Riverside Drive was forsaking the Hudson’s boulevard for Brooklyn, a friend of mine bought him two books as a parting gift, a hipster blessing: the Not for Tourists Guide to Whitman’s borough and a copy of Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem.
What if Read More
In the wake of Boerum Hill’s “It”-ification, my father and I recently decided to ring the doorbell of our old house on Dean Street. The visit was odd for several reasons, the first being that the nice couple living in the house initially thought that I was my father’s wife. After I made it a Read More
I’m not sure I can tell you the difference between a “personal history” and a memoir, but Jonathan Franzen’s contribution to the genre is so expertly shaped and composed, so genuinely, organically thought-provoking, that I wish I could yank it off the shelf where it will inevitably sit with the autobiographical writing of other hip Read More
O.K., here’s my idea: Maybe it’s time for Bob Dylan to shift from writing more songs to writing more books. Chronicles, the first volume of his memoirs, was brilliant; Modern Times, the new album, a wildly overhyped disappointment. I don’t want him to stop singing and playing, just spend more time writing Chronicles-level prose rather Read More
(Pic by Sylvia Plachy via randomhouse.com)
If you’ve followed the arguments against Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards proposal in Brooklyn, Jonathan Lethem’s “open letter” to Frank Gehry on Slate will sound familiar, but it is the second sign (after the Dan Zanes concert) of what Develop Don’t Destroy’s celebrity advisory board–which at Read More
Paula Fox leaned out of her ground-floor entrance and said: “Down here. We tend not to use that entrance.” It was early afternoon on an unusually balmy winter day, and the street in front of her brownstone was empty and quiet. Much of the house was dark, but she didn’t turn on the lights.
The Disappointment Artist, by Jonathan Lethem. Doubleday, 149 pages, $22.95. In the summer of 1977, Jonathan Lethem saw the movie Star Wars 21 times. Not that many times, really-if anything, in the annals of Star Wars geekdom, it qualifies as merely a good start-but Mr. Lethem was proud of his record, if only because of Read More
One night last November, novelist Jonathan Lethem was down on his knees pleading before his ex-wife, novelist Shelley Jackson, in front of a small group of strangers and friends at a party in Brooklyn Heights. “He was on his knees, begging Shelley,” recalled Elissa Schappell, yet another novelist and writer of the Vanity Fair book Read More
Motherless Brooklyn , by Jonathan Lethem. Doubleday, 311 pages, $23.95.
It’s too late to discover Jonathan Lethem, just as he’s publishing his sixth book, five years after his debut, but it’s the right moment to meet him. His latest novel, Motherless Brooklyn , is a pure delight, and the tiny band of enthusiasts who have Read More