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Home » Books » Fiction & Literature » Literary Collections

Motherless Brooklyn

By Jonathan Lethem

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Format: Paperback, 320 pages, Main Edition
Published In: United Kingdom, 01 July 2004
Lionel Essrog, a.k.a. the Human Freakshow, is a victim of Tourette's syndrome (an uncontrollable urge to shout out nonsense, touch every surface in reach, rearrange objects). Local tough guy Frank Minna hires the adolescent Lionel and three other orphans from St Vincent's Home for Boys and grooms them to become the Minna Men, a fly-by-night detective-agency-cum-limoservice. Then one terrible day Frank is murdered, and Lionel must become a real detective. With crackling dialogue, a dazzling evocation of place, and a plot which mimics Tourette's itself in its freshness and capacity to shock, Motherless Brooklyn is a bravura performance: funny, tense, touching, and extravagant.

About the Author

Jonathan Lethem was born in New York and attended Bennington College. He is the author of the novels Gun, with Occasional Music, Amnesia Moon, As She Climbed Across the Table, Girl in Landscape and Motherless Brooklyn, as well as a collection of stories, The Wall of the Sky, the Wall of the Eye. Film rights for Amnesia Moon have been bought by David Lynch, whilst Edward Norton has bought the rights for Motherless Brooklyn. Lethem was described by Newsweek as one of its '100 People for the New Century'. Jonathan Lethem currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Reviews

"The best novel of the year. . . . Utterly original and deeply moving." --"Esquire" "Philip Marlowe would blush. And tip his fedora." --"Newsweek" "Finding out whodunit is interesting enough, but it's more fun watching Lethem unravel the mysteries of his Tourettic creation. In this case, it takes one trenchant wordsmith to know another." --"Time" "Immerses us in the mind's dense thicket, a place where words split and twine in an ever-deepening tangle." --"The New York Times Book Review" "Who but Jonathan Lethem would attempt a half-satirical cross between a literary novel and a hard-boiled crime story narrated by an amateur detective with Tourette's syndrome?...The dialogue crackles with caustic hilarity...Jonathan Lethem is a verbal performance artisit...Unexpectedly moving." --"The Boston Globe" "With one unique and well-imagined character, Jonathan Lethem has turned a genre on its ear. He doesn't just push the envelope, he gives it a swift kick...d "The best novel of the year. . . . Utterly original and deeply moving." --"Esquire" "Philip Marlowe would blush. And tip his fedora." --"Newsweek" "Finding out whodunit is interesting enough, but it's more fun watching Lethem unravel the mysteries of his Tourettic creation. In this case, it takes one trenchant wordsmith to know another." --"Time" "Immerses us in the mind's dense thicket, a place where words split and twine in an ever-deepening tangle." --"The New York Times Book Review" "Who but Jonathan Lethem would attempt a half-satirical cross between a literary novel and a hard-boiled crime story narrated by an amateur detective with Tourette's syndrome?...The dialogue crackles with caustic hilarity...Jonathan Lethem is a verbal performance artisit...Unexpectedly moving." --"The Boston Globe" "With one unique and well-imagined character, Jonathan Lethem has turned a genre on its ear. He doesn't just push th " The best novel of the year. . . . Utterly original and deeply moving." --"Esquire" " Philip Marlowe would blush. And tip his fedora." --"Newsweek" " Finding out whodunit is interesting enough, but it's more fun watching Lethem unravel the mysteries of his Tourettic creation. In this case, it takes one trenchant wordsmith to know another." --"Time" " Immerses us in the mind's dense thicket, a place where words split and twine in an ever-deepening tangle." --"The New York Times Book Review" " Who but Jonathan Lethem would attempt a half-satirical cross between a literary novel and a hard-boiled crime story narrated by an amateur detective with Tourette's syndrome?...The dialogue crackles with caustic hilarity...Jonathan Lethem is a verbal performance artisit...Unexpectedly moving." --"The Boston Globe" " With one unique and well-imagined character, Jonathan Lethem has turned a genre on its ear. He doesn't just push the envelope, he gives it a swift kick... A tour de force." --"The Denver Post" " Wonderfully inventive, slightly absurdist... [Motherless Brooklyn] is funny and sly, clever, compelling, and endearing." --"USA Today"

EAN: 9780571226320
ISBN: 0571226329
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 2 centimetres (0.22 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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1 review(s)
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Rebecca Johnson on
 
To be honest, I only found the story so-so – though I will be fair in admitting that I am not a great fan of detective novels. That being said, I would still recommend this book for it’s insights into the main character alone.

Set in the seventies, Lionel finds himself an oddity in an unkind world – a man suffering from Tourette’s before his condition has gained public knowledge. Told entirely from his perspective, the reader is exposed to the uncontrollable mind of the well meaning Lionel as he follows the clues to discover the killer of his boss and mentor.

Watching this poor man utterly incapable of maintaining control over the words he says or the manner in which he focuses his attention – and being filled with dread at the smallest things, knowing just how it will affect him - just makes one glad they are not put in such a position.

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