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    Julie Schumacher 9780385538138

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Motherless Brooklyn

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Motherless Brooklyn Cover

 

Awards

Winner of the 1999 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction
Winner of the 2000 Gold Dagger
A New York Times Notable Book for 1999

Synopses & Reviews

From Powells.com:

A decade ago, science fiction novelist Dan Simmons likened the literary world to Cold War Berlin: "mainstream fiction [had] become too much like East Berlin — gray, joyless, lifeless, hierarchical, with its store shelves empty or stocked with a few Party-approved items that no one wanted to buy." He suggested that the lucky writers on the west side of the wall, his fellow genre writers, had a responsibility: "[The] color, energy, vitality and ongoing party of West Berlin — the energetic genres — [need] to kick down the wall and bring some life back to the East Berlin of contemporary serious fiction." Hyperbolic, for sure. But he had a point. And at least one "genre" writer has proved him prophetic. In his first five works of fiction, Jonathan Lethem established a reputation as a writer of rich imagination, kinetic prose, and literary depth. Yet, despite the respect he had earned, in terms of readership and stature, Lethem remained confined by the genre label. This all changed with the publication of his fifth novel. A wildly innovative play on the classic hard-boiled crime novel, Motherless Brooklyn is narrated by Lionel Essrog, the "Human Freakshow." A victim of Tourette's syndrome, Lionel is prone to uncontrollable verbal outbursts. Sometimes his exclamations are merely bizarre. But not always: "Reality needs a prick here and there, the carpet needs a flaw. My words begin plucking at threads nervously, seeking purchase, a weak point, a vulnerable ear....That's when it comes...'Eat me!' I scream." In Lethem's hands, Essrog's Tourette's is far more than a clever device. Essrog is at once hugely entertaining and genuinely sympathetic, one of the most compelling — and unlikely — characters in recent fiction. Essrog was also Lethem's passport out of the science fiction ghetto. Motherless Brooklyn was enthusiastically embraced by the politburos of several genres, receiving both a major literary award (the 1999 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction) and a prominent genre prize (The Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award). East Berlin will never be the same. Farley, Powells.com

Publisher Comments:

One of America's hottest young writers — the only novelist named as one of Newsweek's '100 People for the New Century' — presents a genre-bending, mind-blowing tale.

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). A local tough guy and fixer, Frank Minna, takes up 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-limo-service — their days and nights revolving around Frank Minna, the secret prince of Brooklyn. Then one terrible day Frank is murdered, and Lionel must become a real detective, delving into the complex, shadowy web of threats and favours that make up Frank Minna's Brooklyn.

Review:

"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

Review:

"Jonathan Lethem's sixth book, Motherless Brooklyn, superbly balances beautiful writing and an engrossing plot....Motherless Brooklyn succeeds in the end because the author cares about his creations, especially his protagonist, in whom he instills real humanity." Nicholas Kulish, Wall Street Journal

Review:

"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

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

Product Details

ISBN:
9780571197972
Publisher:
Faber & Faber
Copyright:
Edition Description:
UK trade paperback
Publication Date:
2000
Binding:
Trade Paper
Language:
English
Pages:
314

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z

Motherless Brooklyn
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 314 pages Faber & Faber - English 9780571197972 Reviews:
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Jonathan Lethem's sixth book, Motherless Brooklyn, superbly balances beautiful writing and an engrossing plot....Motherless Brooklyn succeeds in the end because the author cares about his creations, especially his protagonist, in whom he instills real humanity."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
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