“The levels of mystery here astound. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts and then the parts decide to act alone and challenge the whole. Lethem is not only interrogating the form of the crime novel, but the venture of storytelling itself. All of this while remaining a joy to read. Full of strange characters and expertly rendered place. This brilliant, genre-defying work will certainly leave a mark.”

“The levels of mystery here astound. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts and then the parts decide to act alone and challenge the whole. Lethem is not only interrogating the form of the crime novel, but the venture of storytelling itself. All of this while remaining a joy to read. Full of strange characters and expertly rendered place. This brilliant, genre-defying work will certainly leave a mark.”



“[An] intricately excavated, breathtaking tale of imperiled childhood in a fitfully gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood. . . . With Brooklyn as a microcosm of human folly and strife, Lethem’s virtuoso, many-faceted novel is trenchant, hilarious, wrenching, and tender.”
BOOKLIST (starred) 

‘If Dean Street could talk, Brooklyn Crime Novel would be its voice, and it would serve up a half-century of Brooklyn’s dirt—fractured multicultural dreams, waves of gentrification, ‘black mayonnaise’—while confessing its many crimes, from shoplifted magazines to blockbusting to murder. An intricate, spellbinding tour of the soul of Brooklyn as it casts off Manhattan’s shadow.’

“A blistering book. A love story. Social commentary. History. Protest novel. And mystery joins the whole together: is the crime ‘time’? Or the almighty dollar? I got a great laugh from it too. Every city deserves a book like this.”

Brooklyn Crime Novel isn’t what it says it is. In fact, it takes apart the three words of its title, even as it takes each of them very seriously. It loosens the knot that is Brooklyn, city of tangled streets, lost oases, and false fronts. It interrogates what a Crime is—a dance? an exchange? a deal gone wrong? a funny mugging? And it opens up what a Novel can be. This is no soul-affirming flight; no apotheosis of ‘where I’m from’; no prettified, gentrified tale of trauma; nor is it a winky metafictional gambit; nor a self-important autofictional one. Brooklyn Crime Novel is an inquiry and a tragedy, and as with the oldest crime story ever written, Oedipus Rex, the judge, detective, victim, and accused are one and the same. A deeply moving, fiercely intelligent, and acerbically funny novel about the scandal and disaster of American capital in our time.”

“Tracking the slippery, overlapping paths of gentrification and crime are a vast cast of characters for whom time and space bend and retract in this expansive novel.”

“Jonathan Lethem creates a vivid portrait of the borough of Brooklyn over 50 years of profound social and economic change. . . . Anyone attuned by personal experience to the vibrancy and edginess of New York City life, or who simply enjoys reading about it, will find something to savor here.”

“The latest novel from the bard of Brooklyn is a metafictional collage that tells the story of some fifty years in one neighborhood…It’s funny and wise and weird…[a] love letter to Brooklyn.”

“A wild, exuberant ambition that pays off and delivers to readers a true achievement: a book at once full of art and grace and mystery…Lethem proves again why he is a master of the form.”


Monday, October 2, 2023 – 7:00pm
Skylight Book
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Wednesday, October 4, 2023 · 7:00pm
Enoch Pratt Free Library
400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

Thursday, October 5, 2023 – 7:00pm
Politics & Prose
5015 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

Saturday Oct 7, 2023 – 12:30pm
With Colson Whitehead
SVA Theatre,
333 West 23rd Street, New York, N.Y. 10011

Joint reading & discussion with Sean Howe
Diamond Hollow Books
72 Main St.
Andes, NY 13731

Wednesday, October 11, 2023 · 7 – 8pm
With Jelani Cobb
St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church
157 Montague Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Thursday, October 12, 2023 – Craft Talk 4:30/Reading QA 7:30
University at Albany
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany NY 12222

Raven Book Store
809 Massachusetts
Lawrence, KS 66044

Sunday, October 15, 2023 – 2:00
Prairie Lights Books
15 S. Dubuque St.
Iowa City, IA 52240

Wednesday, October 18, 2023 · 7:15pm
City Lights Books
261 Columbus Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94133





The Arrest
Ecco Press, 2020

"An exuberantly clever and knowing post-apocalyptic dystopia. . [Lethem is] a writer of abundant literary gifts who applies them with unapologetic enthusiasm.  Extremely strange, twistily plotted, fizzingly written and lingeringly mysterious."
-- Telegraph (UK)

The Arrest is a speculative wonder, a joyfully shaggy and unapologetic page-turner of a tale. It is that rare work that manages to be both optimistic and pessimistic at the same time, somehow evoking all sides of what happens after the end. Simultaneously a celebration and condemnation of human nature, it’s a compelling read from one of his generation’s finest writers.”
-- The Maine Edge

"Lethem cleverly builds on and subverts the tropes of postapocalyptic dystopias, mixes in a metafictional element, and expertly mines the nature of storytelling and its power to enchant. An inventive and intelligent speculative tale."
-- Booklist

“As a writer gifted at playing with genre forms and riffing on popular culture, (Lethem) enjoys tweaking dystopian-novel conventions.”
-- USA Today 

"Rarely has a novel approached the sheer pleasure of The Arrest. This is a dystopian novel in thrall to its own genre, full of knockabout comic book bravado, with regular knowing nods to literary and cinematic history. It is, in short, a blast."
-- The Observer (London) 

The Feral Detective
Ecco, 2018

The Feral Detective investigates our haunted America in all its contemporary guises — at the edge of the city, beyond the blank desert, in the apartment next door. It’s a nimble and uncanny performance, brimming with Lethem’s trademark verve and wit.”
—Colson Whitehead

“Like The Crying of Lot 49 as written and directed by Elaine May, The Feral Detective is hilarious and terrifying and wrenching. Phoebe is one of the grandest, funniest heroes I’ve come upon in a long time.”
—Megan Abbott

“Wild, urgent, and very funny. As always, Lethem writes knowingly and brilliantly about weird, off-the-grid, wayward America. In his ever-more-electric prose, he illuminates both the barbarity and the beauty.”
—Dana Spiotta

“A funny but rage-fueled stunner. . . . Both [characters] are compelling, as are the desert setting and the vividly realized descriptions of its dwellers.  An unrelentingly paced tale. Utterly unique and absolutely worthwhile.”
Booklist (starred review))

“Surrealistic, genre-bending. . . . The personal nature of Phoebe’s tectonic shift in the desert is palpable, made flesh by Lethem’s linguistic alchemy. . . . A haunting tour of the gulf between the privileged and the dispossessed.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review

A Gambler's Anatomy
Doubleday, 2016

"In his new novel, he seems to be channeling (and, as usual, transforming) both Thomas Pynchon and Ian Fleming...in short, just another day in Lethemland, as strange and wondrous in its way as anyplace imagined by L. Frank Baum."
Chicago Tribune"A thoughtful, first-rate novel that also happens to be a page-turner."
New York Times Book Review

"Delightfully weird..."

"A Gambler’s Anatomy will lead more than one reader to rummage around in the back of their closet (or local toy store) for a backgammon set…mesmerizing, twisty, fearless.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“An effortless blend of comic hijinks and madcap tragedy…Lethem serves up a punchy, stylish, relentlessly entertaining novel.”
Star Tribune

Dissident Gardens
Doubleday, 2013

"Lethem is as ambitious as Mailer, as funny as Philip Roth and as stinging as Bob Dylan...Dissident Gardens shows Lethem in full possession of his powers as a novelist, as he smoothly segues between historical periods and internal worlds...Erudite, beautifully written, wise, compassionate, heartbreaking and pretty much devoid of nostalgia." 
--Los Angeles Times

"A righteous, stupendously involving novel about the personal toll of failed political movements and the perplexing obstacles to doing good."
--Booklist, starred review

“A novel jampacked with the human energy of a crowded subway car…It’s a big book set in small spaces – kitchen, classroom, folky nightclub – that keep its battles personal at all times…[A] wild, logorrheic, hilarious and diabolical novel. Those who reflexively compare Mr. Lethem to other Jonathans, like Jonathan Franzen, would be better off invoking Philip Roth.”
--The New York Times

"A stunning new novel...Spanning several major events -- from 1930s McCarthyism through the recent Occupy Wall Street movement --  and featuring an imaginative nonlinear time sequence so that the novel's particulars arrive at unexpected moments, this work is a moving, hilarious satire of American ideology and utopian dreams...Lethem enthusiasts may find this to be his best yet. Very highly recommended."
--Library Journal, starred review

"Jonathan Lethem's latest novel, Dissident Gardens, is a tour de force, a brilliant, satiric journey through America's dissident history from 1930s-era communism to today's Occupy movement."
-- The Star Tribune

Chronic City

"Astonishing....Knowing and exuberant, with beautiful drunken sentences that somehow manage to walk a straight line.....Turbocharged....Intricate and seamless....A dancing showgirl of a novel, yet beneath the gaudy makeup it's also the girl next door: a traditional bildungsroman with a strong moral compass."
--New York Times Book Review

"Chronic City is a feverish portrait of the anxiety and isolation of modern Manhattan, full of dark humor and dazzling writing....proves both funny and frightening."
--Entertainment Weekly

"Exuberant literary revving.....Lethem's vision of New York can approach the Swiftian. It is impressively observant in its detail and scourging in its mocking satire. There are any number of wicked portraits....His comments on New York life are often achingly exact....So pungent and imaginative"
--The Boston Globe

"Ingenious and unsettling...Lethem pulls everything together in a stunning critique of our perceptions of reality and our preconceptions of the function of literature."
--San Francisco Chronicle

"Exquisitely written...Funny and mystifying, eminently quotable, resolutely difficult, even heartbreaking, "Chronic City" demonstrates an imaginative breadth not quite of this world."
--Cleveland Plain Dealer

"A fluid sense of reality pervades these pages, which explore high society, urban politics, avant-garde art, celebrity mania and the dangers of information overload in an age where context is devalued or ignored....the quality of Lethem's prose and the exuberance of his imagination are reasons enough to read it.....When it comes to style, Lethem has few equals."
--Miami Herald 

You Don’t Love Me Yet
Doubleday, 2007

“Smart and funny . . . a biting satirical take on the intersection of art and commerce, integrity and façade. . . . A send up of all things cool.”
Los Angeles Times

“Fit to be devoured over a weekend.”
Rolling Stone

“A gentle and hip romantic comedy [that] breezes through LA's iconoclastic anonymity with a refreshing sincerity.”
The Independent

“His best since Gun, With Occasional Music . . . what makes the book sing are Lethem's accounts of what happens when a crowd on the street hears a band inside a building . . . or when for a moment four musicians understand each other better than anyone of them understands him or herself.”
—Greil Marcus, Interview

The Fortress of Solitude
Doubleday, 2003

“Magnificent. . . . [A] massively ambitious, profoundly accomplished novel.”
– San Francisco Chronicle

"Glorious, chaotic, raw. . . . One of the richest, messiest, most ambitious, most interesting novels of the year. . . . Lethem grabs and captures 1970s New York City, and he brings to it a story worth telling."

"A tour de force . . . Belongs to a venerable New York literary tradition that stretches back through Go Tell it On the MountainA Walker in the City, and Call it Sleep."
--The New York Times

“The finest novel of the year, by far, and likely of the past five. . . . Better than a movie, better than a symphony, better than a play, and better than a painting, because it is all of them.”
Austin Chronicle

Motherless Brooklyn
Doubleday, 1999

"The best novel of the year. . . . Utterly original and deeply moving."

"Philip Marlowe would blush. And tip his fedora."

"Finding out whodunit is interesting enough, but it's more fun watching Lethem unravel the mysteries of his Tourettic creation. In this case, it takes one trenchant wordsmith to know another."

"Immerses us in the mind's dense thicket, a place where words split and twine in an ever-deepening tangle." --The New York Times Book Review

"Who but Jonathan Lethem would attempt a half-satirical cross between a literary novel and a hard-boiled crime story narrated by an amateur detective with Tourette's syndrome?...The dialogue crackles with caustic hilarity...Jonathan Lethem is a verbal performance artisit...Unexpectedly moving."
--The Boston Globe

"With one unique and well-imagined character, Jonathan Lethem has turned a genre on its ear. He doesn't just push the envelope, he gives it a swift kick... A tour de force."
--The Denver Post

"Wonderfully inventive, slightly absurdist... [Motherless Brooklyn] is funny and sly, clever, compelling, and endearing."
--USA Today

Girl in Landscape
Doubleday, 1998

"One of the most original voices among younger American novelists....Jonathan Lethem's imagination [is]...marvelously fertile."

"Lethem is opening up blue sky for American fiction."-
-Village Voice

"Complex, scary and finally moving."
--Atlanta Journal & Constitution

As She Climbed Across the Table
Doubleday, 1997

"In this witty but telling new work from the author of The Wall of Sky, the Wall of Eye , our hapless narrator has completed his dissertation on "Theory as Neurosis in the Professional Scientist" and landed a job at the University of North California at Beauchamp (pronouced beach 'em), where he studies academic envirorments, producing "strong but irrelevant work" and falling for physics professor Alice. But Alice is too caught up in Professor Soft's notorious experiment with a vacuum intelligence called Lack to pay her lover much heed, and soon Lack is the real love of her life. This is not your typically insular campus comedy; Lethem has something bigger in mind, and he succeeds admirably in skewering our pretensions, technological or not, in language that gently mocks the way we hide behind jargon. An ironical book that is, ironically, quite poignant."
--Library Journal

Amnesia Moon
Harcourt Brace, 1995

"A hip, updated conflation of Harlan Ellison's A Boy and His Dog and Jim Thompson's The Alcoholics. Jonathan Lethem escorts us down an impossibly post-terminal Route 66, kicking and screaming and loving every minute of it."
- Barry Gifford, author of Wild At Heart

"An author to be reckoned with . . . A social critic, a sardonic satirist like the Walker Percy of Love in the Ruins. But with Amnesia Moon, Lethem slips out of the shadow of his predecessors to deliver a droll, downbeat vision that is both original and persuasive."

Gun,With Occasional Music
Harcourt Brace, 1994

"Marries Chandler's style and Philip K. Dick's vision . . . An audaciously assured first novel."

"Marvelous . . . Stylish, intelligent, darkly humorous and highly readable entertainment."
-San Francisco Examiner


Lucky Alan and Other Stories

"Lethem is, of course, a king of sentences.... Lethem works in an interesting literary space between realism and absurdism, modernism and postmodernism, satire and a particular brand of DeLillo-inspired darkness.... His talent is large and, as these stories demonstrate, his eye is as sharp as ever."
New York Times Book Review

“Jonathan Lethem’s imagination seemingly knows no bounds.... Comparisons might be drawn to writers ranging from Jorge Luis Borges and Haruki Murakami to Margaret Atwood and J.D. Salinger.”
-- Chicago Tribune

"Rewards await the reader who commits to this slim volume.... Lucky Alan is a beguiling addition to a shelf full of uniquely inventive books by a master of genres with a legitimate claim to the much-contested throne."
-- The Miami Herald

“Typically odd, funny and easy to love…. [A] pleasing schizophrenia and a remarkable variety in affect and ambition within one collection.”
-- LA Times

“[A] great introduction to the sometimes heartbreaking, often surreal world of Jonathan Lethem…"
-- NPR

Men and Cartoons
Doubleday, 2004

"A strikingly original collection . . . imaginative, insightful, witty and sad."
--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"An already dazzling writer shows us a new card. . . . Men and Cartoons ends on a note that portends Lethem's most experimental turn yet: toward human love as [a transporting] alternate universe. . . . Lethem in a new, more nakedly personal key."
--San Francisco Chronicle

"Lethem is the man to beat in fiction these days. . . . Every tale of ennui, cosmic regret and petty yearning is perfectly realized. The brevity of the book and perfection of the stories puts every other member of his generation to shame."
--Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Compelling. . . . Effective. . . . Intelligent and poignant. . . . Strange, amusing, haunting. . . . Lethem has what musicians call 'chops,' or technical mastery. He can mix and match prose styles and literary genres to create glittering fictional artifacts. . . . Each of these nine tales rewards the reader in some way--through an insight, a scene or simply the force of the author's imagination."
--St. Petersburg Times

"Bristling with familiarity. . . . Theme[s] that resonate. . . . [Lethem is] adept at letting palpable human experiences emerge from absurd, fantastical situations."
--The San Diego Union-Tribune

"Nuanced. . . . Resonates with intense force."

Kafka Americana with Carter Scholz
Subterranean Press, 1999

Inspired by affection.... Extremely witty and intelligent.
-- Publishers Weekly

The Wall of the Sky, The Wall of the Eye
Harcourt Brace, 1996


More Alive And Less Lonely
On Books and Writers
Melville House, 2017

“Lethem is literature's ultimate fanboy...[His] earnestness is satisfying, but it's his vulnerability, his willingness to expose his own flaws, that endears...Lethem's words remind of us of our own rabid fandoms.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Incisive, colorful, and insightful...beguiling.”
Publishers Weekly

“Thoughtful and often sly...[A] standout collection.” 

“Lethem is one of our most perceptive cultural critics, conversant in both the high and low realms, his insights buffeted by his descriptive imagination.”
The Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Lethem is, of course, a king of sentences . . . His talent is large.”
The New York Times Book Review

The Ecstasy of Influence
Doubleday, 2011

"Hefty and remarkable .These byways, all of which make room for eccentric flights as well as proper essays, augment the charm and impact of what Lethem prefers to call an 'autobiographical collage,' a phrase he lifts from Vonnegut. This influence seems only natural, for dominating all is Lethem's prime concern always: the novel, generous, exciting, openhearted, unconventional."
--The New York Times Book Review

“He’s a novelist who has spent a lifetime creating his own subversive pantheon, a jumpy CBGB’s of the literary soul….Several of the essays here marinate in the fish sauce that is literary gossip…..feisty, freewheeling….funny”
The New York Times

"Emotionally engaging and intellectually nimble....curated selection of essays which thematically add up to more than the sum of its parts. Progressive, eyebrow-raising, Impassioned.Disarming,"
--The Guardian

"The writer I most wish was my best friend....impressively omnivorous new collection of mostly non-fiction....reveal a lively, even manic mind at play across a wide and wonderful series of subjects that are threaded together, mostly, as a kind of autobiography of a would-be writer becoming a struggling writer and then a successful writer while all the while remaining a voracious reader."
The National Post

"Conceptual ambition, sense of purpose and a fan’s evangelical devotion distinguish this collection from the typical novelist’s gathering of nonfiction miscellany.....impressively rich....In addition to being a writer who blurs the distinction between genre fiction (sci-fi, detective, western) and postmodern literature (a term he questions), Lethem writes with a commitment to sharing his enthusiasm for whatever obsesses him.."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Peppery nonfiction....provocative tour de force....thoughtful and rambunctious....dynamically juxtaposed and connected....to create a jazzy, patchwork memoir....hilarious....fresh, erudite, zestful, funny frolic in the great fields of creativity."

The Disappointment Artist
Essays, Doubleday, 2005

"Lethem is one of our most perceptive cultural critics, conversant in both the high and low realms, his insights buffeted by his descriptive imagination."
Los Angeles Times Book Review

"He fearlessly analyzes his influences--movies, books, artists, friends, parents--and his insights are highly personal, but also often universal, and thus these essays reach the highest goal of the memoir form."
The Seattle Times

"This is a gem of a book. . . . Heartbreaking. . . . Mesmerizing. . . . A form of smuggled autobiography. . . . With a few deft strokes, the reader is left with a vivid image of Lethem’s childhood." —The New York Observer

"Moving. . . . Absolutely fascinating. . . . Dense with allusion and insight."
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“These marvelous explorations take us into the hiding places of the psyche, where second thoughts are assessed, secret-sharer sins confessed, and grief and loss redressed. In a collection as warmly engaging as it is ruminative, Jonathan Lethem shows himself to be as much a master of the personal essay as he is of contemporary fiction.”
—Phillip Lopate


The Blot
(With Laurence A. Rickels)
Anti-Oedipus Press, 2016

Talking Heads: Fear Of Music
Continium, 2012

They Live
Softskull Press, 2010

Patchwork Planet

Omega: The Unknown Premiere
Issues 1 through 10 of Omega The Unknown
Marvel Comics, Oct., 2008

How We Got Insipid
Subterranean Press, 2006

This Shape We’re In
A Novella, McSweeney’s, 2000


Philip K. Dick:
Valis and Other Late Novels
Library of America, 2009

Philip K. Dick:
Five Novels of the 1960’s and 1970’s
Library of America, 2008

Philip K. Dick:
Four Novels of the 1960s
Library of America, 2007

Da Capo Best Music Writing 2002:
The Year’s Finest Writing on Rock, Pop, Jazz, & More
Da Capo, 2002

The Vintage Book of Amnesia:
An Anthology of Writing about Memory Loss
Vintage, 2000


New Yorker, 11/9/08 


“Traveler Home” in Travelers
Photographs by Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz
Aperture, 2008 


“Dear Earth”
Four Letter Word:
Invented Correspondence from the Edge of Modern Romance

Free Press, 2008


“The King of Sentences”
New Yorker, 12/17/07


“Lucky Alan”
New Yorker, 3/19/07


“Perkus Tooth”
The Book of Other People
Penguin Books, 2007


“Phil in the Marketplace”
Virginia Quarterly Review, Fall, 2006


“The Used Bookshop Stories”
New and Used by Marc Joseph, Steidl, 2006

“Interview With The Crab”
Bread #1, 2005 


“The Drew Barrymore Stories”
Another Magazine, Spring/Summer 2005


“The Collector”
Fred Thomaselli catalog, 2004


“Vivian Relf”
McSweeney’s, 2004


“Zeppelin Parable”
McSweeney's 12, 2004


“The National Anthem”
Black Clock, 2004


“Super Goat Man”
The New Yorker, April 2004


“Fish Suspicion” collaboration with Aimee Bender
Westchester Journal News, September 2003


“The Vision”
Tin House, 2003


“Children with Hangovers”
Lit, 2003


“The Dystopianist”
Conjunctions 39, 2002


“Liner Note”
Tin House, Winter 2001-2002


“Entry of Buildings”
2001 Stories, March 2002


Chapbook of “The Mad Brooklynite”
Synaesthesia Press, 2001


“Underberg Excerpt”
Black Book, 2001


“The Spray”
Fetish, Four Walls Eight Windows Press, 1998


“K Is for Fake”
McSweeney’s 4, 2000


“Man Jet”
Nerve, January 2000


“Planet Big Zero”
Lit, Fall 1999


Esquire, September 1999


“Ninety Percent of Everything”
with James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel
Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September 1999


“Tugboat Syndrome”
The Paris Review, issue 151, Summer 1999


“The Glasses”
The Village Voice Literary Supplement, April–May 1999


“Missed Opportunities”
McSweeney’s, 1999


“The Mad Brooklynite”
McSweeneys #2, 1998


“Tourette Rhapsodies #’s 1, 2, and 3”
Bombay Gin, Fall 1998

“Access Fantasy”
Starlight 2 [anthology], Tor Books, 1998


“Five Fucks”
Nebula Awards Anthology 1997, Harcourt Brace, 1998


“The Darcy Bee” story collaboration
Omni Online, February 1998


“The Edge of the Bed of Forever”
with Angus MacDonald
Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, August 1997


“Martyr and Pesty”
Lethal Kisses, Millenium, 1997


“How We Got in Town and Out Again”
Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, September 1996


“The One About the Green Detective”
Unusual Suspects Anthology, Vintage/Black Lizard 1996


Crank! #6,Winter 1996


“The Birth of Utopia Noir”
Pulse, July 1996

“The Hardened Criminals”
Intersections: The Sycamore Hill Anthology
Tor Books, December 1995


“The True History of the End of the World”
with James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel
The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Oct 1995


“Light and the Sufferer”
Century 1,1995

“The Insipid Profession of Jonathan Horneboom”
Full Spectrum 5, 1995


“Receding Horizon” with Carter Scholz
Crank! #5; Summer 1995


“Call Waiting”
Exquisite Corpse, April 1995


“The Notebooks of Bob K.”
From Kafka Americana

Gas, January 1995

“Willing It Over the Wall”
or the Nine Billion Names of Babe Ruth”
Crank! #4, Autumn 1994


“Mood Bender”
Crank! #3, Spring 1994


“Forever, Said the Duck”
Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, December 1993


“The Precocious Objects”
Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, December 1993


“The Happy Prince”
Crank! #2, Winter 1993


“Hugh Merrow”
Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, October/November 1993


“His Oral History”
Crank! #1, Autumn 1993


“Waiting Under Water”
Jejune, September 1993


“A Small Patch on My Contract”
Interzone, April 1993


“Vanilla Dunk”
Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, September 1992


“The Speckless Cathedral”
Interzone, March 1992


“Ad Man”
Science Fiction Review, March 1992


“The Elvis National Theater of Okinawa” with Lukas Jaeger
In Dreams, Gollancz, 1992


“Program's Progress”
Universe 2, 1992


“The Happy Man”
Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, February 1991


“Walking the Moons”
New Pathways, September 1990


“Using It and Losing It”
Journal Wired, Summer/Fall 1990


“Neighbor Bob”
Journal Wired, Summer/Fall 1990


“A Mirror for Heaven”
Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine, Summer 1990


Journal Wired, Spring 1990


“The Buff”

“A Wish”
Pulphouse, 1989

“The Cave Beneath the Falls”
Aboriginal SF, January/February 1989


“The Fly In The Ointment”
Preface to 100 Greatest Singers list
Rolling Stone, November 2008 


“The Departed” - Review of Roberto Bolano’s 2666
New York Times Book Review


“Infidels” The Cambridge Book of Bob Dylan
Cambridge University Press, 2009


The Encyclopedia Project


“Things To Remember”
TAR Magazine, October 2008


“Dylan Smut”
Hang the DJ: An Alternative Book of Music Lists,
Angus Cargill, ed., 2008


“Art of Darkness”
New York Times op-ed, 9/20/08


“We Happy Fakes”
The Guardian [UK], 9/1/07


“Edward’s End”
Review of Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach
New York Times Book Review, 6/3/07


“The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism”
Harper’s Magazine, Feb., 2007


How I Write: the Secret Lives of Authors
Rizzoli, 2007


“Stray Gems”
sidebar, Rolling Stone, August, 2006


“The Genius of Bob Dylan”
Rolling Stone, August, 2006


“Being James Brown”
Rolling Stone, June, 2006


“Brooklyn’s Trojan Horse:
An Open Letter to Frank Gehry”
Slate Magazine, 6/19/06


“Brando’s Last Stand”
Rolling Stone, May 2006


“A Figure in the Castle”
Review of Robert Calasso’s K.
New York Times Book Review, 5/1/05


“An Orchestra of Light That was Electric”
Black Clock, 2006


“Uncried Tears”
O Magazine, June 2005


“Donald Sutherland’s Buttocks”
Nerve, March 2005


“So, Who’s Perkus Tooth, Anyway?”
Washington Post Book World, 2005


“The Beards”
The New Yorker, 2005


Commencement Address
Bennington College, June 2005


Liner Note for Unfaithfully Yours DVD
Criterion Collection, July 2005


“Rick James”
New York Times Magazine, December 2004


“Otis Redding’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
Black Clock, 2004


“Two Or Three Things I Dunno About Cassavetes”
Granta, July 2004


Review of Christopher Ricks
New York Times Book Review, June 2004


“Books Are Sandwiches”
Book Club Cookbook, 2004


“Bowels of Compassion”
Mortification, 2004


“Patchwork Planet”
Brooklyn Magazine, 2004


Squib on Gaddis’s “The Recognitions”
Conjunctions, 2004


“Esplanade Fugue”
Lincoln Center Review, 2004


“My Marvel Years”
London Review of Books, April 2004


Brick, 2004


“The Loneliest Book I’ve Read”
Remarkable Reads, 2004


“On It Happened In Boston?
LA Weekly, 2003


Squib on Stan Brakhage DVD
Rolling Stone, Summer 2003


“Uncertainty Principal”
Village Voice, May 2003


“Charles Dickens, Animal Novelist”
The Believer, April 2003


Liner Note for The Killers DVD
Criterion Collection, 2003


Edward Dahlberg's Recipe for Crocodile Tears”
Harper's, February 2003


“Top Five Depressed Superheroes”
Shout Magazine, December 2002


“My Egyptian Cousin”
London Review of Books, December 2002


“You Don't Know Dick”
Bookforum, Summer 2002


“Alone at the Movies”
The New Yorker, Summer 2002


“People Who Died”
GQ, August 2002


Review of “Spiderman”
London Review of Books, June 2002


Cabinet Magazine, Spring 2002


Review of New York Characters
New York Observer, December 10, 2001


“Stop Making Sense”
Rolling Stone, October 25, 2001


“Dear Stacy”
Open Letters, 2001


Squib on Geoff Dyer
Entertainment Weekly, 2001


“Further Reports in a Dead Language”
Rolling Stone, September 2001


“Nine Failures of the Imagination”
New York Times, September 2001


“The Man in the Back Row Has a Question”
Paris Review, Summer 2001


“On The Clash”
New York Observer, 2001


“Who’s Afraid of Doctor Strange?”
Bookforum, Summer 2001

“Birthday greeting to Bob Dylan”
Rolling Stone, June 2001


“Yoked in Gowanus”
Brick Magazine, June 2001


Review of Glue by Irvine Welsh
New York Times, May 2001


“In Memoriam Joey Ramone”
New York Times Op-Ed, April 2001


Liner notes for The Maggies' CD Breakfast at Brelreck's
March 2001


“Defending The Searchers
Tin House, Winter 2000–2001


“The Williamsburg Trilogy”
Tin House #2, 2000


“Book Tour Diaries”
Bold Type, November 2000


“The Lair of the Collector”
House and Gardens, 2000


On the subway series
New York Newsday, October 2000


Review of When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro
Bookforum, Fall 2000


“Hitchhiking in Nevada Is Illegal”
Rolling Stone, July 2000


Bernard Malamud, Philip K. Dick, Kazuo Ishiguro:
Contributions to the Salon Guide to Contemporary Authors
August 2000


Review of Despair and Other Stories by Andre Alexis
New York Times, January 9, 2000


Review of Tough Tough Toys for Tough Tough Boys
by Will Self
New York Times, June 20, 1999


Review of Past Forgetting by Jill Robinson
Salon, October 1999


“Five Terrific Novels
Overshadowed by their Film Versions”
Salon, October 1999


On Rod Serling
Gadfly, September–October 1999


Review of The Ground Beneath Her Feet
by Salman Rushie
Village Voice, April 1999


Review of A Cursing Brain: Histories of Tourette Syndrome
by Howard Kushner
Salon, April 1999


“Mistakes Were Made,” an exchange with Ray Davis
New York Review of Science Fiction, December 1998


Review of “Hurlyburly”
Salon, December 1998


Review of More Than Night by James Naremore
Bookforum, 1998


Review of “Gods and Monsters”
Salon, November 1998


Review of Totally, Tenderly, Tragically by Philip Lopate
Salon, November 1998


Review of “Happiness”
Salon , October 1998


Review of “Hit Me”
Salon, October 1998


Review of Gary Cooper: An American Hero
by Jeffrey Meyers
Salon, June 1998


“The Squandered Promise of Science Fiction”
Village Voice, June 1998


On Charles Finney's “The Unholy City”
Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, October/November 1998


“Body, Landscape, Symptom”
Boldtype, May 1998


Review of Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood
by Todd McCarthy
Salon, July 1997


On John Wayne
Salon, July 1997


On John Barth’s End of the Road
Boldtype, March 1997


On Shirley Jackson
Salon, January 1997


Profile of Jonathan Richman
Pulse! October 1996


Review of Virtual Light by William Gibson
New York Review of Science Fiction, November 1993


Review of Elvissey by Jack Womack
New York Review of Science Fiction, February 1993
“Daylight Noir: Raymond Chandler’s Unreal City”
photographs by Catherine Corman,


Preface to:
“Daylight Noir: Raymond Chandler’s Unreal City”
photographs by Catherine Corman, Charta, 2009 


Introduction to:
A Meaningful Life
by L.J. Davis
Random House, 2009


Introduction to:
Miss Lonelyhearts & The Day of the Locust

by Nathaniel West
New Directions, 2009


Introduction to:
Mascots and Mugs

by D. “Chino” Villorente & Todd “Reas” James
Testify, 2007

Introduction to:
The Brooklyn Novels

Daniel Fuchs, editor.
Black Sparrow Press, 2006


Introduction to:
We Have Always Lived in the Castle

by Shirley Jackson
Penguin Classics, 2006


Introduction to:
The Deadly Percheron

by J.F Bardin
Millipede Press, 2006


Introduction to:
Fierce Attachments

by Vivian Gornick
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005


Introduction to:
The Man Who Lost the Sea: Volume X:
The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon

by Theodore Sturgeon
North Atlantic Books, 2005


Introduction to:
A New Life

by Bernard Malamud
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004


Introduction to:
Dombey and Son

by Charles Dickens
Modern Library Classics, 2003


Introduction to:
It Happened In Boston?
by Russell Greenan
Modern Library Classics, 2003


Introduction to:
Meeting Evil
by Thomas Berger
Simon & Schuster, 2003


Introduction to:
On the Yard

by Malcolm Braly
New York Review of Books Classics, 2002


Introduction to:
Dombey and Son
by Charles Dickens
Modern Library Classics, 2003


Introduction to:
The Man Who Was Thursday
by G.K. Chesterton
Modern Library Classics, 2001


Introduction to:
Poor George

by Paula Fox
W.W. Norton, 2001


Introduction to:
by Walter Tevis
Ballantine, October 1, 1999




Provisionally Speaking: An Interview with Jonathan Lethem
Los Angeles Review of Books, October 16, 2016

Back to the Fortress of Brooklyn and the Millions of Destroyed Men Who Are My Brothers
Partisan Review, April, 2005

Down the Wormhole with Jonathan Lethem: On Male Complicity and Publishing in a Pandemic
LitHub, November 9, 2020

Jonathan Lethem, the Elephant Man
Los Angeles Review of Books, April 16, 2015

Jonathan Lethem's "Perfect" Album
Salon, April 18, 2012

Books Like Pictures in a Gallery: A Conversation with Jonathan Lethem
Los Angeles Review of Books, January 21, 2021

Building My Own Strange Machines: A Conversation with Jonathan Lethem and Christopher Boucher
The Millions, May 15, 2017

Jonathan Lethem: A Short Interview
Medium.com, April 26, 2016

Letting Tinkerbell Die: An Interview with Jonathan Lethem
Fiction Writers Review, Oct 31, 2011

Jonathan Lethem on Writers, Disney Movies, and Cat Videos
Chicago Review of Books, March 29, 2017


Jonathan Lethem and the Galaxy of Writing
Bloomsbury, 2019

Jonathan Lethem
Manchester University Press, 2012


Bizarro Worlds: Jonathan Lethem's THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE
Fiction Advocatem 2018


Conversations with Jonathan Lethem
University Press of Mississippi, 2011



“Insomnia is a variant of Tourette's--the waking brain races, sampling the world after the world has turned away, touching it everywhere, refusing to settle, to join the collective nod. The insomniac brain is a sort of conspiracy theorist as well, believing too much in its own paranoiac importance--as though if it were to blink, then doze, the world might be overrun by some encroaching calamity, which its obsessive musings are somehow fending off.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn 

“I want what we all want," said Carl. "To move certain parts of the interior of myself into the exterior world, to see if they can be embraced.”
― Jonathan Lethem, You Don't Love Me Yet

“Those promises we make to ourselves when we are younger, about how we mean to conduct our adult lives, can it be true we break every last one of them? All except for one, I suppose: the promise to judge ourselves by those standards, the promise to remember the child who would be so appalled by compromise, the child who would find jadedness wicked.”
― Jonathan Lethem

“What age is a black boy when he learns he's scary?”
― Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude  

“Listen to me. I’m shy. I’m not stupid. I can’t meet people’s eyes. I don’t know if you understand what that’s like. There’s a whole world going on around me, I’m aware of that. It’s not because I don’t want to look at you, Lucinda. It’s that I don’t want to be seen.”
― Jonathan Lethem, You Don't Love Me Yet 


“You can't be deep without a surface”
― Jonathan Lethem, You Don't Love Me Yet 


“Someday I'd change my name to Shut Up and save everybody a lot of time.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn 


“I learned to write fiction the way I learned to read fiction - by skipping the parts that bored me.”
― Jonathan Lethem  

“Every room I've lived in since I was given my own room at eleven was lined with, and usually overfull of, books. My employment in bookstores was always continuous with my private hours: shelving and alphabetizing, building shelves, and browsing-- in my collection and others-- in order to understand a small amount about the widest possible number of books. Such numbers of books are constantly acquired that constant culling is necessary; if I slouch in this discipline, the books erupt. I've also bricked myself in with music--vinyl records, then compact discs. My homes have been improbably information-dense, like capsules for survival of a nuclear war, or models of the interior of my own skull. That comparison--room as brain-- is one I've often reached for in describing the rooms of others, but it began with the suspicion that I'd externalized my own brain, for anyone who cared to look.”
― Jonathan Lethem, The Disappointment Artist

“There were days when no kid came out of his house without looking around. The week after Halloween had a quality both hungover and ominous, the light pitched, the sky smashed against the rooftops.”
― Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude

“My inner chemistry had been hijacked by a mad scientist, who poured the fizzy, volatile contents of my heart from a test tube marked SOBER REALITY into another labeled SUNNY DELUSION, and back again, faster and faster, until the floor of my life was slick with spillage.”
― Jonathan Lethem, As She Climbed Across the Table

“What exactly is postmodernism, except modernism without the anxiety?”
― Jonathan Lethem

“Dylan's friend Linus Millberg appears out of the crowd with a cup of beer and shouts, 'Dorothy is John Lennon, the Scarecrow is Paul McCartney, the Tin Woodman is George Harrison, the Lion's Ringo.'
'Star Trek,' commands Dylan over the lousy twangy country CB's is playing between sets.
'Easy,' Linus shouts back. "Kirk's John, Spock's Paul, Bones is George, Scotty is Ringo. Or Chekov, after the first season. Doesn't matter, it's like a Scotty-Chekov-combination Ringo. Spare parts are always surplus Georges or Ringos.'
'But isn't Spock-lacks-a-heart and McCoy-lacks-a-brain like Woodman and Scarecrow? So Dorothy's Kirk?'
'You don't get it. That's just a superficial coincidence. The Beatle thing is an archetype, it's like the basic human formation. Everything naturally forms into a Beatles, people can't help it.'
'Say the types again.'
'Responsible-parent genius-parent genius-child clown-child.'
'Okay, do Star Wars.'
'Luke Paul, Han Solo John, Chewbacca George, the robots Ringo.'
'Tonight Show.'
'Uh, Johnny Carson Paul, the guest John, Ed McMahon Ringo, whatisname George.'
'Doc Severinson.'
'Yeah, right. See, everything revolves around John, even Paul. That's why John's the guest.'
'And Severinson's quiet but talented, like a Wookie.'
'You begin to understand.”
― Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude

“...Don't rupture another's illusion unless you're positive the alternative you offer is more worthwhile than that from which you're wrenching them. Interrogate your solipsism: Does it offer any better a home than the delusions you're reaching to shatter?”
― Jonathan Lethem, Chronic City


“Some people have things written all over their faces; the big guy had a couple of words misspelled in crayon on his.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Gun, With Occasional Music


“My heart, to put it more simply, got nostalgic for the present. Always a bad sign.”
― Jonathan Lethem, As She Climbed Across the Table

“Anyone could see it all coming and no one could possibly stop it and that was the beautiful thing. Friday night was open wide and writ in stone”
― Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude

“Apologies aren't something you want to get in the habit of practicing in the mirror”
― Jonathan Lethem, Gun, With Occasional Music

“Consensual reality is both fragile and elastic, and it heals like the skin of a bubble.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

“My heart and the elevator, a plummet inside a plummet.”
― Jonathan Lethem, As She Climbed Across the Table

“It was often this way, life consisted of a series of false beginnings, bluff declarations of arrival to destinations not even glimpsed.”
― Jonathan Lethem, You Don't Love Me Yet

“Enough of this. Does every conversation with you have to be the director's cut? Get out of the car.”
― Jonathan Lethem , Motherless Brooklyn

“To the resentment that hides inside love, to the loneliness that hides among companions.”
― Jonathan Lethem, You Don't Love Me Yet

“A shadow strolled past the car, indifferent to our curbside melodrama. This was my second time imperiled in a a parked vehicle in the space of three hours. I wondered what goonish spectacles I'd overlooked in my own career as a pavement walker.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

“I jotted the name down mentally on that tattered notepad I call a memory. The pen skipped.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Gun, With Occasional Music

“Tourette's is just one big lifetime of tag, really. The world (or my brain---same thing) appoints me it, again and again. So I tag back. Can it do otherwise? If you've ever been it you know the answer.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

“I'm tightly wound. I'm a loose cannon. Both - I'm a tightly wound loose cannon, a tight loose.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

“Nobody said anything while I opened the bag and took out the egg salad sandwich. It was one of those funny moments when a bit of normal human activity embarrasses everybody out of their bluster and hostility, and roles are momentarily laid aside.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Gun, With Occasional Music

“Eighth grade's a distant rumor, a tabled issue, and Dylan knows from experience that the summer between might change anything, everything. He and Mingus Rude too and even Arthur Lomb for that matter are released from the paint-by-numbers page of their schooldays, from their preformatted roles as truant or victim, freed to an unspoiled summer, that inviting medium for doodling in self-transformation. ”
― Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude

“But the day I can't shrug off a twinge of self-pity, is the day I'm washed up for keeps.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Gun, With Occasional Music

“She craned up on her toes and kissed my cheek..."Don't do that", I said. "You just met me. This is New York.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

“The voices may propel you to warble along, or to dance, they may inspire you to seduction or insurrection or inspection or merely to watching a little less television. The voices of Barrett Rude Jr. and the Subtle Distinctions lead nowhere, though, if not back to your own neighborhood. To the street where you live. To things you left behind.
And that's what you need, what you needed all along.”
― Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude

“I'd underestimated him. I assumed anyone who started out gut-punching you in an elevator couldn't have all that much else in his arsenal. For instance, I had no idea he could smile, let alone at such an inappropriate time.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Gun, With Occasional Music

“But the stories you told yourself-- which you pretended to recall as if they'd happened every afternoon of an infinite summer-- were really a pocketful of days distorted into legend, another jailhouse exaggeration, like the dimensions of those ballpoint-crosshatched tits or of the purported mountains of blow you once used to enjoy, or how you'd bellowed an avenger's roar when you squeezed the trigger of a pistol you'd actually brandished in self-pissing terror. How often had that hydrant even been opened? Did you jet water through a car window, what, twice at best? Summer burned a few afternoons long, in the end.”
― Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude

“Apparently Brooklyn needn't always push itself to be something else, something conscious and anxious, something pointed toward Manhattan.... Brooklyn might sometimes also be pleased, as here on Flatbush, to be its grubby, enduring self.”
― Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude

“It wasn't for children, seventh grade. You could read the stress of even entering the building in the postures of the teachers, the security guards. Nobody could relax in such a racial and hormonal disaster area.”
― Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude

“The wind was picking up off the ocean now and the whole coastal scene had a bleak, abandoned look, as though Maine in November really belonged to the ragged gulls who wheeled over the sun-worn pier, and the humans had just gotten the news and taken a powder.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

“Fifth grade was fourth grade with something wrong. Nothing changed outright. Instead it teetered. You'd pushed futility at Public School 38 so long by then you expected the building itself would be embarrassed and quit. The ones who couldn't read still couldn't, the teachers were teaching the same thing for the fifth time now and refusing to meet your eyes, some kids had been left back twice and were the size of janitors. The place was a cage for growing, nothing else. School lunch turned out to be the five-year-plan, the going concern. You couldn't be left back from fish sticks and sloppy joes. You'd retain at the least two thousand half-pint containers of vitamin D-enriched chocolate milk.
Two black guys from the projects, twins, were actually named Ronald and Donald MacDonald. The twins themselves only shrugged, couldn't be made to agree it was incredible.”
― Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude

“Have you ever felt, in the course of reading a detective novel, a guilty thrill of relief at having a character murdered before he can step onto the page and burden you with his actual existence? Detective stories always have too many characters anyway. And characters mentioned early on but never sighted, just lingering offstage, take on an awful portentous quality. Better to have them gone.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

“All Thinking is Wishful.”
― Jonathan Lethem, You Don't Love Me Yet

“The key to mostly anything is pretending your first time *isn't*.”
― Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude

“Today the tower's flock, the usual birds, flew in a kind of scatter pattern, their paths intricately chaotic, the bunch parting and interweaving like boiling pasta under a pot's lifted lid. It appeared someone had given the birds new instructions, had whispered that there was something to avoid, or someone to fool. I once heard Perkus Tooth say that he'd woken that morning having dreamed an enigmatic sentence: "Paranoia is a flower in the brain." Perkus offered this, then smirked and bugged his eyes--the ordinary eye, and the other. I played at amazement (I was amazed, anyway, at the fact that Perkus dreamed sentences to begin with). Yet I hadn't understood what the words meant to him until now, when I knew for a crucial instant that the birds had been directed to deceive me. That was when I saw the brain's flower. Perkus had, I think, been trying to prepare me for how beautiful it was.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Chronic City

“We were in a middle space then, in a cone of white, father and son moving forward at a certain speed. Side by side, not truly quiet but quiescent, two gnarls of human scribble, human cipher, human dream.”
― Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude

“For those whose ganglia were formed pre-TV, the mimetic deployment of pop-culture icons seems at best an annoying tic and at worst a dangerous vapidity that compromises fiction's seriousness by dating it out of the Platonic Always, where it ought to reside.”
― Jonathan Lethem

“I was playing it existential, and maybe a bit stupid, but it was the only way I knew how to play it.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Gun, With Occasional Music

“May one plead, Your Honor, postmodernism as an involuntary condition?”
― Jonathan Lethem, The Disappointment Artist

“There is nothing Tourettic about the New York City subways.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

“The cars rushing below knew nothing. People in cars weren't New Yorkers anyway, they'd suffered some basic misunderstanding. The two boys on the walkway, apparently standing still they were moving faster than the cars.
Nineteen seventy-five.”
― Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude

“I am relaxed. It's just buried under layers of incredulity and panic. But underneath those I'm very relaxed.”
― Jonathan Lethem, As She Climbed Across the Table

“The revving heart of my hopefulness, kicked into gear anew, is the most precious thing about me, I refuse to vilify it.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Men and Cartoons

“The stumbling block will turn out to be the traditional one for students of consciousness: the flashlight is incapable of shining on itself, so we can't trust what its light reveals.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Fear of Music

“Did I read The New Yorker? This question had a dangerous urgency. It wasn't any one writer or article he was worried about, but the font. The meaning embedded, at a preconscious level, by the look of the magazine; the seal, as he described it, that the typography and layout put on dialectical thought. According to Perkus, to read The New Yorker was to find that you always already agreed, not with The New Yorker but, much more dismayingly, with yourself. I tried hard to understand. Apparently here was the paranoia Susan Eldred had warned me of: The New Yorker's font was controlling, perhaps assailing, Perkus Tooth's mind. To defend himself he frequently retyped their articles and printed them out in simple Courier, an attempt to dissolve the magazine's oppressive context. Once I'd enter his apartment to find him on his carpet with a pair of scissors, furiously slicing up and rearranging an issue of the magazine, trying to shatter its spell on his brain.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Chronic City

“The dentist swiveled on his heels and disappeared, leaving me there to massage my jaw back into feeling after its brief, masochistic marriage to the top of my wooden desk.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Gun, With Occasional Music

“You discovered yourself and what really mattered only after you passed through the lens of the fairy tale, imposed on every human female and male alike, that someone existed out in the forest of the world for you to love and marry.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Dissident Gardens

“I’d forgotten my identity as the world’s most pathetic superhero, become a Californian instead. ”
― Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude

“Winter days were static glimpsed between channel flips.”
― Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude

“Terms swarm up to tempt me in the course of this description: Greek Orthodox, Romanesque, flying buttress, etc. These guessing words I find junked in my brain in deranged juxtaposition, like files randomly stuffed into cabinets by a dispirited secretary with no notion of what, if anything, might ever be usefully retrieved. Often all language seems this way: a monstrous compendium of embedded histories I’m helpless to understand. I employ it the way a dog drives a car, without grasping how the car came to exist or what makes a combustion engine possible. That is, of course, if dogs drove cars. They don’t. Yet I go around forming sentences.”
― Jonathan Lethem, Chronic City

“Did he ever--try?'
Mingus shrugged. 'He was like you.'
What's that mean?'
Means he tried.'
Of course. The ring was not a neutral tool. It judged its wearer: Aaron Doily flew drunkenly, and Dylan flew like a coward, only when it didn't matter, at the Windles' pond. So if had attuned to Robert Woolfolk's chaos.
Don't tell me,' said Dylan. 'He flew sideways.'
Mingus left it vague. He'd always made it his habit to protect their honor against one another--Dylan, Arthur, Robert. To say nothing.”
― Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude