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1 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

Lenny Bruce Is Dead

by

Lenny Bruce Is Dead Cover

 

 

Excerpt

AT McDonald?s, when I?m throwing out the stuff on my tray, there?s a point where I get scared that my wallet could have been on there, too. I always think, as everything is tumbling into the garbage, that I might have tossed my wallet on the tray and forgotten. It always feels possible.

?I?ll never do stuff like that when I?m a father?, Josh said.
?You are a better man than I, Gunga Din?, Chick said.

Josh thought that bachelorhood would mean he could wear dresses all day, but he never got around to buying any. He woke up at noon and watched The Flintstones. He played Air Supply?s Greatest Hits while lying on the floor pretending to have a mental breakdown. He memorized Richard Pryor routines. He went out to buy beer in his sweatpants. He lay under the bed and pretended he was on Devil?s Island.

At the bottom of the yogourt, there was something black and beetle-like. He suddenly felt a gob of vomit move up through his throat. It made him feel ten years old.

At the shopping mall there was a teenage boy who handed out pieces of paper.
?You are going to die?, the papers read.
Those people thought they were getting coupons.

Josh?s father, Chick, wanted to write a book about growing up in New Jersey and he wanted to call it The Corner.
Josh wanted to get his father started. He pulled a piece of loose-leaf paper from his binder and drew the cover. It was a picture of people yelling and fighting and old men sweeping. In the centre was Chick and he was screaming with his hands over his face.
He pulled out a second piece of paper and wrote an introduction. ?The corner was where men met to play cards and fist fight?, he wrote. ?This is one man?s story.?

Before Josh sat down, he always checked the toilet water. There were stories of snakes that had crawled up miles of pipe looking for sunlight. Sometimes, right in the middle of everything, he would get up and look down between his legs.

Chick once told Josh about an old army buddy of his who went around kissing women on the hand every time he was introduced. One day he kissed the cherry on the end of a woman?s lit cigarette. His lip was burned so bad he had to go to a speech therapist. It was one of his father?s this-is-what-you-get stories.

Frieda, Josh?s mother, would bring over food she made for him. Sometimes Josh ate it from a pot because all the dishes were dirty. He called it ?cowboy style?. When the coffee table was too cluttered and he had to eat it off his chest, he called it ?deathbed style?. One time someone came over and left a skateboard behind. He ate off that for a while, wheeling it behind him on a shoelace as he went from room to room. He called it ?little boy lost?.

Chick smacked his thighs, searching. Frieda called it the car-key dance.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781582433479
Author:
Goldstein, Jonathan
Publisher:
Counterpoint LLC
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Young men
Subject:
Jewish families
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Jewish fiction.
Subject:
Bildungsromans
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20060231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
200
Dimensions:
7.13 x 5 in 6 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Lenny Bruce Is Dead Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.95 In Stock
Product details 200 pages Counterpoint Press - English 9781582433479 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Goldstein, a former fixture on the Montreal spoken word scene, delivers a disjointed blast of fictions (is it a novel, are they "deep thoughts," are they short stories??) with Lenny Bruce is Dead. The bite-sized chapters are full of skewed observations told in a very entertaining style akin to Hal Sirowitz (or as poetically bold as Jeffrey McDaniel) as they chronicle a horny young Jewish man in a world of ambitious failures. Goldstein, who is now a producer for PRI's This American Life, has written a compulsively readable gem and hopefully we'll see more from him in the future.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Goldstein's woeful, funny debut novel is a series of aphorism-capped vignettes, paced at the rate of approximately one scene per paragraph. As these snapshots flash past, protagonist Josh ages rapidly from child to onanistic teen to depressive adult, mourning the death of his mother and the loss of a series of vividly described girlfriends along the way. Throughout, descriptions of Josh's suburban-anytown Jewish upbringing and job at local fast-food franchise Burger Zoo, while peppered with scatological and Portnoy's Complaint-esque sordidly sexual details, often achieve a level of nuance that's poetic and almost profound. In the latter third of the book, Josh's preoccupation with a Hasidic neighbor and the 'Rebbe's Kosher-style Love Lotion' that he begins to experiment with grow repetitive and confusing. But 'This American Life' contributing editor Goldstein has a knack for imagery ('He was crying on the floor, pulling toilet paper off the spool with both hands like he was climbing a rope') and ear for hyper-realistic dialogue, making him a writer to watch." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Josh, the confused, creative, obsessive ladies' man at the center of Lenny Bruce is Dead, is a neurotic antihero as funny and compelling as the ones Mordecai Richler and Philip Roth used to dream up, but funnier and more compelling. With dazzling sentences and deadpan humour, Jonathan Goldstein guides us throught the odd moments and keen observations that make up Josh's gonowhere life: old men at the Burger Zoo demand hardboiled eggs for breakfast and beautiful girls bike through the earlymorning streets of Montreal in their pyjamas, a toothbrush clenched between their teeth. With Lenny Bruce, Goldstein puts the tour back in tour de force."
"Review" by , "This is an assured, completely original debut from a writer to be reckoned with..."
"Review" by , "One wishes Lenny Bruce is Dead a long life."
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