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.

“An impeccably executed, moving, and wildly inventive tale of madness and narrative at the end of the world. Lethem is at the top of his game.”  –Emily St. John Mandel, author of The Glass Hotel and Station Eleven

“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

The Arrest is a novel that defies description in the best possible way, which makes it quintessentially a work of Jonathan Lethem’s at his most sublime. It’s an organic tale of the apocalypse, a Hollywood parable, and a fable of survival and surrender. The prose crackles, the jokes land hard and fast, and the story’s heart is sensationally large. Spectacularly imaginative but grounded in humanity and hope—The Arrest is a perfect novel for this moment and future ones.” –Ivy Pochoda

“Put down your phone and read The Arrest. It feels as though it was written a hundred years from where we are now,  in a new human context, but retrospectively inevitable, by someone with a pen trying to imagine the moment that everything became different.  Included in the price, Lethem, with wit and suspense,  also gives us a Hollywood novel, a love story, and a teenage gizmo novel about a ride across  the country in the coolest atomic car ever.  If I say anymore I will say too much.”  –Michael Tolkin

“But this is Jonathan Lethem, a master at subverting expectations of form and genre. He has not written a conventional postapocalyptic cautionary tale. If anything, he seems more interested in unpacking assumptions built into such tales…There are all of the expected and welcome pleasures of reading Lethem: his intellect, dialogue and wry humor….The Arrest, as with so much of his work, it is inventive, entertaining and superbly written.”— Charles Yu, The New York Times Book Review


“Friends, I’d love to see you at any or all of these booktour events. Thanks to the joys of quarantine, they’re all “near you” — but please take note of the local time zones, and translate accordingly. All of these Zoom events are free, though several require registration in advance. Thanks!  JL”


KGB, Tuesday 12/8
With Karen Green and Aimee Bender

Second Life Book Club, Wednesday 12/9
With Jenny Odell, Claire L. Evans and Joanne McNeil 

Ben Arthur, Saturday 12/19
With songwriters Tift Merritt and Ben Arthur 
suggested donation of $10
info here