Recently I was reminded what an incredible writer Jonathan Lethem is. The New Yorker magazine ran a short story of his a week or two back called “The King of Sentences”. The story is amazing and points out how talented and versatile the author is. In short fiction I find I like at least three out of five of his stories. There are only a few other people I can honestly say that about. Also in novella format he is strong. For example read “As She Climbed Across The Table”. Just right as a short novel.
I have heard people say they had trouble getting into “The Fortress Of Solitude” which is his biggest and best work. It to be one of the most memorable books I ever read, but I can understand it is not for everybody, or perhaps just not for all occasions. This book changed how I regarded fiction. I think back to my favorite parts often, but I can see that many readers would be more comfortable with “Motherless Brooklyn”. The ease with which he tells a story is elegant, his characters vivid and unique, but not caricatures in any way, though odd characters they certainly may be.
Jonathan Lethem makes for good read-aloud material also. Hearing his sentences, his words aloud lets the listen hear how perfectly matched and balanced the language of the stories actually is. Which is your favorite?
by – Doug Mathewson