Thursday October 15th, 2009

OK, Chronic City, It’s Go Time

lethem-portraitNow I really have to read Jonathan Lethem’s new novel and find out for myself. I’ve been going back and forth about it. I tend to like Lethem (which went in the “plus” column, obviously). Then I read that the book involved pot-smoking paranoids (a “minus” in my book). But it was also touted as a return to his more fantastical earlier works (a plus for a big fan of Girl in Landscape like myself). Then there seemed to be a critical consensus of sorts that the novel wasn’t up to snuff (a minus). But one of those reviews was a grumpy, not entirely convincing take by Michiko Kakutani (plus). And now I see this description of the book’s protagonist, Perkus Tooth, that Lethem gives in a recent interview:

He’s a volatile, supersensitive, paranoid, prematurely washed-up, shadowy, vain, and impossible person, a kind of twitching nerve insufficiently covered in flesh. I love him, myself.

If you’re in New York, Lethem has planned a creative local tour that will find him (and others) reading the entirety of the book over the course of eight nights at seven different venues.