Chronic City

By Jonathan Lethem
(Doubleday, Hardcover, 9780385518635, 480pp.)

Publication Date: October 13, 2009

List Price: $27.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.
Shop Local
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.

Go


Selected by Indie Booksellers for the November 2009 Indie Next List
“A story of Manhattan as a city of falsehoods plays out in the friendship of a former child star and a polemicist with a mishmash of psychological problems. The characters are brilliantly developed, the plot is intricate but engaging, and Lethem pulls no punches. His best since Motherless Brooklyn -- excellent, excellent, excellent.”
-- Conrad Silverberg, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI


Description

The acclaimed author of Motherless Brooklyn and The Fortress of Solitude returns with a roar with this gorgeous, searing portrayal of Manhattanites wrapped in their own delusions, desires, and lies.

Chase Insteadman, a handsome, inoffensive fixture on Manhattan's social scene, lives off residuals earned as a child star on a beloved sitcom called Martyr & Pesty. Chase owes his current social cachet to an ongoing tragedy much covered in the tabloids: His teenage sweetheart and fiancée, Janice Trumbull, is trapped by a layer of low-orbit mines on the International Space Station, from which she sends him rapturous and heartbreaking love letters. Like Janice, Chase is adrift, she in Earth's stratosphere, he in a vague routine punctuated by Upper East Side dinner parties.

Into Chase's cloistered city enters Perkus Tooth, a wall-eyed free-range pop critic whose soaring conspiratorial riffs are fueled by high-grade marijuana, mammoth cheeseburgers, and a desperate ache for meaning. Perkus's countercultural savvy and voracious paranoia draw Chase into another Manhattan, where questions of what is real, what is fake, and who is complicit take on a life-shattering urgency. Along with Oona Laszlo, a self-loathing ghostwriter, and Richard Abneg, a hero of the Tompkins Square Park riot now working as a fixer for the billionaire mayor, Chase and Perkus attempt to unearth the answers to several mysteries that seem to offer that rarest of artifacts on an island where everything can be bought: Truth.

Like Manhattan itself, Jonathan Lethem's masterpiece is beautiful and tawdry, tragic and forgiving, devastating and antic, a stand-in for the whole world and a place utterly unique.




About the Author

JONATHAN LETHEM is the author of seven novels. A recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, Lethem has also published his stories and essays in The New Yorker, Harper's, Rolling Stone, Esquire, and the New York Times, among others.




Reviews from AltWeeklies.com
From Willamette Week, Portland, Oregon

Unlike Pynchon in The Crying of Lot 49, which this book at first resembles, Lethem keeps his readers (and his narrator) at too critical a distance, and explains far too much, and thus leaves me still waiting for that novel where Lethem finally knocks one all the way into the bleachers.




Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. When do you think the action of the novel occurs? Is there a reason the time was left vague? Is this the "real" New York City?

Indie Bookstore Finder
EBbooks and EReaders
Find great gifts: Signed books
Link to IndieBound






Update Profile