Men and Cartoons
By Jonathan Lethem
(Vintage, Paperback, 9781400076802, 240pp.)
Publication Date: November 8, 2005
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A boozy ex-military captain trapped in a mysterious vessel searches for his runaway son, an aging superhero settles into academia, and a professional "dystopianist" receives a visit from a suicidal sheep. Men and Cartoons contains eleven fantastical, amusing, and moving stories written in a dizzying array of styles that shows the remarkable range and power of Lethem's vision. Sometimes firmly grounded in reality, and other times spinning off into utterly original imaginary worlds, this book brings together marvelous characters with incisive social commentary and thought provoking allegories.
A visionary and creative collection that only Jonathan Lethem could have produced, the Vintage edition features two stories not published in the hardcover edition, "The Shape We're In" and "Interview with the Crab.
Jonathan Lethem is the author of six novels, including The Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn, which won the National Book Critics Award. He is the author of two short story collections and the editor of The Vintage Book of Amnesia. His stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Granta and Harper’s. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, and in Maine.
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"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
"Ineffably poignant." --Time
"His sheer inventiveness is a treat. . . . Affecting and clever, these tales are standouts." --People
"Terrific. . . . Lethem captures the world we know and the one hovering just beyond our periphery." --The Baltimore Sun
"A pleasure. . . . These stories offer potent little distillations of Lethem's considerable imagination." --Entertainment Weekly
"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." --Newsday
"Laugh-out-loud funny tales of love, flamboyance, and childhood memories." --Elle
"Smart. . . . Original. . . . Memorable. . . . Lethem is . . . [like] the Coen Brothers of fiction." --The Seattle Times
"Men and Cartoons will open up a vast new world to readers unfamiliar with Lethem's oeuvre. . . . The entries are uniformly fine--each in its own way representative of Lethem's mastery of whatever style he attempts." --Rocky Mountain News
"Fantastic." --Vanity Fair
"Engaging. . . . A Lethem primer. . . . The characters of Men and Cartoons need their stories to be told." --The Village Voice
"Jonathan Lethem spits out genres like curse words--from sci-fi to pseudo-erotica to the
epistolary. His narrative psychosis is our disturbed enjoyment." --Genre Magazine
"Wonderful. . . . A collection of tales based in Brooklyn but permeated with fantasy [from] the very talented Mr. Lethem." --The Hartford Courant
"Lethem at his best. . . . [An] appealing array of stories [that] exemplify Lethem's talents as a profoundly imaginative writer." --Chattanooga Times Free Press