But this is fateful!

Theo Tait

Trying to make sense of Jonathan Lethem’s fiction as a whole is something of a fool’s errand: there is no easily discernible line from the early hipster science fiction to his big-selling detective story Motherless Brooklyn (1999), to his Cobble Hill coming-of-age novel The Fortress of Solitude (2003) to his intricate, ironic New York Buddenbrooks, Dissident Gardens (2013). Even his prose often seems like the work of a series of distinct writers: from the Philip K. Dick/Raymond Chandler pastiche of Gun, with Occasional Music (1994) to the loose, freewheeling style of The Fortress of Solitude to the clotted, effortful virtuosity of Dissident Gardens.

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