Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem


Lethem is the best fiction author writing today. Fact (usual IMhO disclaimers). Chronic City (Faber & Faber 467 pages) isn’t even one of his best, yet still knocks the socks off all his would-be pretenders. Every sentence is hand-crafted out of the marble of language with a literary chisel. Every word has a tiny detonation when placed next to the trip switch and timer of the other words in its sentence. You don’t believe me, try “his hide-and-seek muse” or “his bare-knuckly shoulders”. But having said all that, there was something slightly unsatisfying about this, his latest Meisterwerk. In thesame way that Quentin Tarantino really needs now to shoot a film without a gun or a sword in it, Lethem maybe needs to widen his canvas beyond that of New York City. NYC stands for many things, but is perhaps too idiosyncratic to bear the full weight of an investigation into hyper-realities for the whole world.  Continue reading