New Release Books by Jonathan Lethem

Jonathan Lethem is the author of Doggerel & Lyrics (2020), Fight of the Century (2021), The Arrest (2021), The Feral Detective (2018) and other 85 books.

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Doggerel & Lyrics

release date: Nov 01, 2020

Fight of the Century

release date: Jan 19, 2021
Fight of the Century
The American Civil Liberties Union partners with award-winning authors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman in this “forceful, beautifully written” (Associated Press) collection that brings together many of our greatest living writers, each contributing an original piece inspired by a historic ACLU case. On January 19, 1920, a small group of idealists and visionaries, including Helen Keller, Jane Addams, Roger Baldwin, and Crystal Eastman, founded the American Civil Liberties Union. A century after its creation, the ACLU remains the nation’s premier defender of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. In collaboration with the ACLU, authors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman have curated an anthology of essays “full of struggle, emotion, fear, resilience, hope, and triumph” (Los Angeles Review of Books) about landmark cases in the organization’s one-hundred-year history. Fight of the Century takes you inside the trials and the stories that have shaped modern life. Some of the most prominent cases that the ACLU has been involved in—Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, Miranda v. Arizona—need little introduction. Others you may never even have heard of, yet their outcomes quietly defined the world we live in now. Familiar or little-known, each case springs to vivid life in the hands of the acclaimed writers who dive into the history, narrate their personal experiences, and debate the questions at the heart of each issue. Hector Tobar introduces us to Ernesto Miranda, the felon whose wrongful conviction inspired the now-iconic Miranda rights—which the police would later read to the man suspected of killing him. Yaa Gyasi confronts the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education, in which the ACLU submitted a friend of- the-court brief questioning why a nation that has sent men to the moon still has public schools so unequal that they may as well be on different planets. True to the ACLU’s spirit of principled dissent, Scott Turow offers a blistering critique of the ACLU’s stance on campaign finance. These powerful stories, along with essays from Neil Gaiman, Meg Wolitzer, Salman Rushdie, Ann Patchett, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Louise Erdrich, George Saunders, and many more, remind us that the issues the ACLU has engaged over the past one hundred years remain as vital as ever today, and that we can never take our liberties for granted. Chabon and Waldman are donating their advance to the ACLU and the contributors are forgoing payment.

The Feral Detective

release date: Nov 06, 2018
The Feral Detective
Jonathan Lethem’s first detective novel since Motherless Brooklyn “One of America’s greatest storytellers.” —Washington Post Phoebe Siegler first meets Charles Heist in a shabby trailer on the eastern edge of Los Angeles. She’s looking for her friend’s missing daughter, Arabella, and hires Heist to help. A laconic loner who keeps his pet opossum in a desk drawer, Heist intrigues the sarcastic and garrulous Phoebe. Reluctantly, he agrees to help. The unlikely pair navigate the enclaves of desert-dwelling vagabonds and find that Arabella is in serious trouble—caught in the middle of a violent standoff that only Heist, mysteriously, can end. Phoebe’s trip to the desert was always going to be strange, but it was never supposed to be dangerous. . . . Jonathan Lethem’s first detective novel since Motherless Brooklyn, The Feral Detective is a singular achievement by one of our greatest writers.

Everything Is Connected

release date: Sep 17, 2018
Everything Is Connected
Since the mid-twentieth century, conspiracy has pervaded our collective worldview, shaped by events such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War, Watergate, the Iran-Contra affair, and 9/11. Everything Is Connected examines how artists from the 1960s to the present have explored both the covert operations of power and the mutual suspicion between governments and their citizens. Featured are works by some thirty artists—including Sarah Charlesworth, Emory Douglas, Hans Haacke, Rachel Harrison, Jenny Holzer, Mike Kelley, Mark Lombardi, Cady Noland, Trevor Paglen, Raymond Pettibon, Jim Shaw, and Sue Williams—in media ranging from painting, drawing, and photography to video and installation art. Whether they uncover webs of deceit hidden in the public record or dive headlong into paranoid fever dreams, these artists use their work to take a powerful and proactive stance against the political corruption, consumerism, bureaucracy, and media manipulation that are hallmarks of contemporary life. p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Verdana}

A Gambler's Anatomy

release date: Sep 05, 2017
A Gambler's Anatomy
Alexander Bruno travels the world playing high stakes backgammon and hunting for amateur "whales" who think they can challenge him. Lately he''s had a run of bad luck, not helped by the blot that has emerged in his field of vision, forcing him to look at the board sideways. As the blot grows larger, his game worsens, until he passes out in the middle of a match and receives an alarming diagnosis. Out of money and out of friends, he turns to the only person who can help and the last person he wants to see: a high-rolling former childhood acquaintance who agrees to pay for Bruno''s experimental surgery in Berkeley. But Berkeley is the place where Bruno discovered his psychic gift and where he vowed never to return. There, forced to confront patchouli flashbacks and his uncertain future, Bruno confronts two existential questions: Is the gambler being played by life? And what if you''re telepathic, but it doesn''t do you any good?

More Alive and Less Lonely

release date: Mar 21, 2017
More Alive and Less Lonely
From the award-winning author of Motherless Brooklyn and The Ecstasy of Influence comes a new collection of essays that celebrates a life spent in books More Alive and Less Lonely collects over a decade of Jonathan Lethem’s finest writing on writing, with new and previously unpublished material, including: impassioned appreciations of forgotten writers and overlooked books, razor-sharp critical essays, and personal accounts of his most extraordinary literary encounters and discoveries. Only Lethem, with his love of cult favorites and the canon alike, can write with equal insight into classic writers like Charles Dickens and Herman Melville, modern masters like Lorrie Moore and Thomas Pynchon, graphic novelist Chester Brown, and science fiction outlier Philip K. Dick. Sharing his infectious love for books of all kinds, More Alive and Less Lonely is a bracing voyage of literary discovery and an essential addition to every booklover’s shelf.

Lucky Alan

release date: Feb 24, 2015
Lucky Alan
The incomparable Jonathan Lethem returns with nine stories that demonstrate his mastery of the short form. Jonathan Lethem’s third collection of stories uncovers a father’s nervous breakdown at SeaWorld in “Pending Vegan”; a foundling child rescued from the woods during a blizzard in “Traveler Home”; a political prisoner in a hole in a Brooklyn street in “Procedure in Plain Air”; and a crumbling, haunted “blog” on a seaside cliff in “The Dreaming Jaw, The Salivating Ear.” Each of these locates itself in Lethem-land, which can be discovered only by visiting. As in his celebrated novels, Lethem finds the uncanny lurking in the mundane, the irrational self-defeat seeping through our upstanding pursuits, and the tragic undertow of the absurd world(s) in which we live. Devoted fans of Lethem will recognize familiar themes: the anxiety of influence taken to reductio ad absurdum in “The King of Sentences”; a hapless, horny outsider summoning bravado in “The Porn Critic”; characters from forgotten comics stranded on a desert island in “Their Back Pages.” As always in Lethem, humor and poignancy work in harmony, humans strive desperately for connection, words find themselves misaligned to deeds, and the sentences are glorious.

The Vision

release date: Oct 21, 2014
The Vision
From Jonathan Lethem’s classic collection, Men and Cartoons, a haunting, playful story about dress-up, superheroes, Mafia, love and treachery. “I first met the kid known as the Vision at second base, during a kickball game in the P.S. 29 gymnasium,” the narrator, Joel, explains. Decades later the Vision returns to his old Brooklyn neighborhood, no longer a young boy who dresses up in superhero costumes but a confident adult. But at a party with several mysterious visitors the Vision reveals some secrets still lingering, as the partygoers turn from party games to the uneasy weight of truth. This is an exemplary story from a modern master—poignant, witty, and entirely original. An eBook short.

The Blot

release date: Feb 02, 2017
The Blot
**A New York Times top 100 Notable Book of the Year** Alexander Bruno is a man with expensive problems. Sporting a tuxedo and trotting the globe, he has spent his adult life as a professional gambler. His particular line of work: backgammon, at which he extracts large sums of money from men who think they can challenge his peerless acumen. In Singapore, his luck turned. Maybe it had something to do with the Blot – a black spot which has emerged to distort Bruno’s vision. It’s not showing any signs of going away. As Bruno extends his losing streak in Berlin, it becomes clinically clear that the Blot is the symptom of something terrible. There’s a surgeon who can help, but surgery is going to involve a lot of money, and worse: returning home to the garish, hash-smoke streets of Berkeley, California. Here, the unseemly Keith Stolarsky – a childhood friend in possession of an empire of themed burger bars and thrift stores – is king. And he’s willing to help Bruno out. But there was always going to be a price.

The Wall Of The Sky, The Wall Of The Eye

release date: Apr 08, 2014
The Wall Of The Sky, The Wall Of The Eye
A dead man is brought back to life so he can support his family in "The Happy Man"; occasionally he slips into a zombielike state while his soul is tortured in Hell. In "Vanilla Dunk," future basketball players are given the skills of old-time stars like Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain. And in "Forever, Said the Duck," stored computer personalities scheme to break free of their owners. In these and other stories in this striking collection, Jonathan Lethem, author of The Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn, draws the reader ever more deeply into his strange, unforgettable world—a trip from which there may be no easy return.

Amnesia Moon

release date: Mar 11, 2014
Amnesia Moon
In Jonathan Lethem''s wryly funny novel, we meet a young man named Chaos, who''s living in a movie theater in post-apocalyptic Wyoming, drinking alcohol, and eating food out of cans. It''s an unusual and at times unbearable existence, but Chaos soon discovers that his post-nuclear reality may have no connection to the truth. So he takes to the road with a girl named Melinda in order to find answers. As the pair travels through the United States they find that, while each town has been affected differently by the mysterious source of the apocalypse, none of the people they meet can fill in their incomplete memories or answer their questions. Gradually, figures from Chaos''s past, including some who appear only under the influence of intravenously administered drugs, make Chaos remember some of his forgotten life as a man named Moon.

Dissident Gardens

release date: Jan 01, 2014
Dissident Gardens
A multigenerational saga focuses on two extraordinary women, including Rose, a tyrannical Communist who terrorizes her neighborhood with her absolute beliefs, and her daughter Miriam, who embraces the counterculture of Greenwich Village.

Gun, with Occasional Music

release date: Oct 09, 2014
Gun, with Occasional Music
The first novel by Jonathan Lethem (author of the award-winning Motherless Brooklyn) is a science-fiction mystery, a dark and funny post-modern romp serving further evidence that Lethem is the distinctive voice of a new generation. Conrad Metcalf has problems. He has a monkey on his back, a rabbit in his waiting room, and a trigger-happy kangaroo on his tail. (Maybe evolution therapy is not such a good idea). He''s been shadowing Celeste, the wife of an Oakland urologist. Maybe falling in love with her a little at the same time. When the doctor turns up dead, Metcalf finds himself caught in a crossfire between the boys from the Inquisitor''s Office and gangsters who operate out of the back room of the Fickle Muse.

Talking Heads' Fear of Music

release date: Apr 19, 2012
Talking Heads' Fear of Music
It''s the summer of 1979. A fifteen-year-old boy listens to WNEW on the radio in his bedroom in Brooklyn. A monotone voice (it''s the singer''s) announces into dead air in between songs "The Talking Heads have a new album, it''s called Fear of Music" - and everything spins outward from that one moment. Jonathan Lethem treats Fear of Music (the third album by the Talking Heads, and the first produced by Brian Eno) as a masterpiece - edgy, paranoid, funky, addictive, rhythmic, repetitive, spooky and fun. He scratches obsessively at the album''s songs, guitars, rhythms, lyrics, packaging, downtown origins, and legacy, showing how Fear of Music hints at the directions (positive and negative) the band would take in the future. Lethem transports us again to the New York City of another time - tackling one of his great adolescent obsessions and illuminating the ways in which we fall in and out of love with works of art.

Girl in Landscape

release date: Oct 09, 2014
Girl in Landscape
Girl in Landscape offers a genre-bending, mind-expanding tale of a new frontier. Jonathan Lethem''s novel is a science-fiction Western that evokes both the brooding tragedy of John Ford''s The Searchers and the sexual precocity of Nabokov''s Lolita. Lethem''s heroine is 14-year-old Pella Marsh, whose mother dies just as her family flees a post-apocalyptic Brooklyn for the frontier of a recently discovered planet. Hating her ineffectual father, and troubled by a powerful attraction to the virile but dangerous loner who holds sway over the little colony, Pella embarks on a course of discovery that will have tragic and irrevocable consequences - both for the humans in her community, and also for the mysterious and passive indigenous inhabitants, The Archbuilders.

The Disappointment Artist

release date: Aug 07, 2014
The Disappointment Artist
Lethem illuminates the process by which a child invents himself as a writer, and as a human being, through a series of approaches to the culture around him. In the title piece, a letter from his aunt (a children''s book author) spurs a meditation on the value of writing workshops, the role and influence of reviews, and the uncomfortable fraternity of writers. In ''Defending The Searchers'', Lethem explains how a passion for the classic John Wayne Western became occasion for a series of minor humiliations. In ''Identifying with Your Parents'', an excavation of childhood love for superhero comics expands to cover a whole range of nostalgia for a previous generation''s cultural artefacts. And ''13/1977/21'', which begins by recounting the summer he saw Star Wars twenty-one times, ''slipping past ushers who''d begun to recognize me...'', becomes a meditation on the sorrow and solace of the solitary moviegoer.

The Ecstasy of Influence

release date: Nov 08, 2011
The Ecstasy of Influence
What’s a novelist supposed to do with contemporary culture? And what’s contemporary culture supu00adposed to do with novelists? In The Ecstasy of Influence, Jonathan Lethem, tangling with what he calls the “white elephant” role of the writer as public intellectual, arrives at an astonishing range of answers. A constellation of previously published pieces and new essays as provocative and idiosyncratic as any he’s written, this volume sheds light on an array of topics from sex in cinema to drugs, graffiti, Bob Dylan, cyberculture, 9/11, book touring, and Marlon Brando, as well as on a shelf’s worth of his literary models and contemporaries: Norman Mailer, Paula Fox, Bret Easton Ellis, James Wood, and othu00aders. And, writing about Brooklyn, his father, and his sojourn through two decades of writing, Lethem sheds an equally strong light on himself.

The Fortress of Solitude

release date: Aug 14, 2014
The Fortress of Solitude
From the prize-winning author of Motherless Brooklyn, a daring, riotous, sweeping novel that spins the tale of two friends and their adventures in late 20th-century America. This is the story of two boys, Dylan Ebdus and Mingus Rude. They live in Brooklyn and are friends and neighbours; but since Dylan is white and Mingus is black, their friendship is not simple. This is the story of 1970s America, a time when the simplest decisions - what music you listen to, whether to speak to the kid in the seat next to you, whether to give up your lunch money - are laden with potential political, social and racial disaster. This is also the story of 1990s America, when nobody cared anymore. This is the story of what would happen if two teenaged boys obsessed with comic book heroes actually had superpowers: they would screw up their lives.
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