Jonathan Lethem

Jonathan Allen Lethem (/ˈliːθəm/;[1] born February 19, 1964) is an American novelist, essayist, and short story writer. His first novel, Gun, with Occasional Music, a genre work that mixed elements of science fiction and detective fiction, was published in 1994. It was followed by three more science fiction novels.

In 1999, Lethem published Motherless Brooklyn, a National Book Critics Circle Award-winning novel that achieved mainstream success. In 2003, he published The Fortress of Solitude, which became a New York Times Best Seller. In 2005, he received a MacArthur Fellowship.

Jonathan Lethem
Lethem at the March 2012 National Book Critics Circle Awards
Lethem at the March 2012 National Book Critics Circle Awards
BornJonathan Allen Lethem
February 19, 1964 (age 55)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Pen nameHarry Conklin
OccupationNovelist, essayist, short story writer
NationalityAmerican
Period1989–present
Notable worksMotherless Brooklyn (1999)
The Fortress of Solitude (2003)
Notable awardsNational Book Critics Circle Award, World Fantasy Award
SpouseShelley Jackson (1987-1997)
Julia Rosenberg (2000-2002)
Amy Barrett
Children2
Website
www.jonathanlethem.com

Early life

Lethem was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Judith Frank Lethem, a political activist, and Richard Brown Lethem, an avant-garde painter.[2][3] He was the eldest of three children. His father was Protestant (with Scottish and English ancestry) and his mother was Jewish, from a family with roots in Germany, Poland, and Russia.[4][5] His brother Blake became an artist involved in the early New York hip hop scene, and his sister Mara became a photographer, writer, and translator. The family lived in a commune in the pre-gentrified Brooklyn in the northern section of the neighborhood of Gowanus (now called Boerum Hill). Lethem's fourth grade teacher at P.S. 29 in nearby Cobble Hill was future New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, whom he called the "perfect" teacher and dedicated his first novel, Gun, with Occasional Music to her.[6] Despite the racial tensions and conflicts, he later described his bohemian childhood as "thrilling" and culturally wide-reaching.[2] He gained an encyclopedic knowledge of the music of Bob Dylan, saw Star Wars twenty-one times during its original theatrical release,[7] and read the complete works of the science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. Lethem later said Dick's work was "as formative an influence as marijuana or punk rock—as equally responsible for beautifully fucking up my life, for bending it irreversibly along a course I still travel."[8]

His parents divorced when Lethem was young. When he was thirteen, his mother Judith died from a malignant brain tumor,[9] an event which he has said haunted him and has strongly affected his writing. (Lethem discusses the direct relation between his mother and the Bob Dylan song "Like a Rolling Stone" in the 2003 Canadian documentary Complete Unknown.) In 2007, Lethem explained, "My books all have this giant, howling missing [center]—language has disappeared, or someone has vanished, or memory has gone."[2]

Intending to become a visual artist like his father, Lethem attended the High School of Music & Art in New York, where he painted in a style he describes as "glib, show-offy, usually cartoonish".[10] At Music & Art he produced his own zine, The Literary Exchange, which featured artwork and writing. He also created animated films and wrote a 125-page novel, Heroes, still unpublished.

After graduating from high school, Lethem entered Bennington College in Vermont in 1982 as a prospective art student. At Bennington, Lethem experienced an "overwhelming. ... collision with the realities of class—my parents' bohemian milieu had kept me from understanding, even a little, that we were poor. ... at Bennington that was all demolished by an encounter with the fact of real privilege."[10] This, coupled with the realization that he was more interested in writing than art, led Lethem to drop out halfway through his sophomore year. He hitchhiked from Denver, Colorado to Berkeley, California in 1984, across "a thousand miles of desert and mountains through Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada, with about 40 dollars in my pocket," describing it as "one of the stupidest and most memorable things I've ever done."[11]

Lethem lived in California for twelve years, working as a clerk in used bookstores, including Moe's and Pegasus & Pendragon Books, and writing on his own time.[12] Lethem published his first short story in 1989 and published several more in the early 1990s.[13]

Career

First novels

Jonathan Lethem on the banks of the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, NY
Lethem in Brooklyn

Lethem's first novel, Gun, with Occasional Music, is a merging of science fiction and the Chandleresque detective story, which includes talking kangaroos, radical futuristic versions of the drug scene, and cryogenic prisons. The novel was published in 1994 by Harcourt Brace, in what Lethem later described as a "delirious" experience. "I'd pictured my first novels being published as paperback originals," he recalled, "and instead a prestigious house was doing the book in cloth. ... I was in heaven."[10] The novel was released to little initial fanfare, but an enthusiastic review in Newsweek, which declared Gun an "audaciously assured first novel", catapulted the book to wider commercial success.[14] Gun, with Occasional Music was a finalist for the 1994 Nebula Award, and placed first in the "Best First Novel" category of the 1995 Locus Magazine reader's poll. In the mid-1990s, film producer-director Alan J. Pakula optioned the novel's movie rights, which allowed Lethem to quit working in bookstores and devote his time to writing.[14]

His next book was Amnesia Moon (1995). Partially inspired by Lethem's experiences hitchhiking cross-country,[11] this second novel uses a road narrative to explore a multi-post-apocalyptic future landscape rife with perception tricks. After publishing many of his early stories in a 1996 collection, The Wall of the Sky, the Wall of the Eye, Lethem published his third novel, As She Climbed Across the Table (1997). It starts with a physics researcher who falls in love with an artificially generated spatial anomaly called "Lack", for whom she spurns her previous partner. Her ex-partner's comic struggle with this rejection, and with the anomaly, constitute the majority of the narrative.

In 1996, Lethem moved from the San Francisco Bay Area back to Brooklyn.[11] His next book, published after his return to Brooklyn, was Girl in Landscape. In the novel, a young girl must endure puberty while also having to face a strange and new world populated by aliens known as Archbuilders. Lethem has said that Girl in Landscape's plot and characters, including the figures of a young girl and a violently protective father figure, were "very strongly influenced" by the 1956 John Wayne Western The Searchers, a movie with which he is "obsessed."[15]

Mainstream success and "genre bending"

Jonathan Lethem at the Brooklyn Book Festival
Lethem reading at the 2008 Brooklyn Book Festival

The first novel Lethem began after returning to New York City was Motherless Brooklyn, a return to the detective theme. He maintained objective realism while exploring subjective alterity through Lionel Essrog. His protagonist has Tourette syndrome and is obsessed with language. Lethem later said that Essrog

... obviously [is] the character I've written with whom I most identify ... [the novel] stands outside myself ... It's the only one which doesn't need me, never did. It would have found someone to write it, by necessity.[10]

Upon its publication in 1999, Motherless Brooklyn won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, The Macallan Gold Dagger for crime fiction, and the Salon Book Award; it was named book of the year by Esquire. In 1999, actor Edward Norton announced that he was planning to write, direct and star in a film adaptation of the novel.[16] In March 2007, Norton said he was still working on the screenplay.[17]

According to The New York Times, the mainstream success of Motherless Brooklyn made Lethem "something of a hipster celebrity", and he was referred to several times as a "genre bender".[18] Critics cited the variety of Lethem's novels, which were alternately hard-boiled detective fiction, science fiction, and autobiographical. (Lethem credited his comfort in genre-mixing to his father's art, which "always combined observed and imagined reality on the same canvas, very naturally, very un-self-consciously.")[18] In Time magazine, Lev Grossman classed Lethem with a movement of authors similarly eager to blend literary and popular writing, including Michael Chabon (with whom Lethem is friends),[19] Margaret Atwood, and Susanna Clarke.[20]

In 2003, Lethem commented on the concept of "genre bending":

The fact is, I used to get very involved, six or seven years ago, and before that, in questions of taxonomy of genre, and in the idea—which is ultimately a political idea—that a given writer, perhaps me, could in some objective way alter or reorganize the boundaries between genres. ... Nowadays, I've come to feel that talking about categories, about "high" and "low", about genre and their boundaries and the blurring of those boundaries, all consists only of an elaborate way to avoid actually discussing what moves and interests me about books—my own, and others'. What I like are books in their homely actuality—the insides of the books, the mysterious movements of characters and situations and the emotions that accompany those movements. The play of sentences, their infinite variety.[21]

In the early 2000s, Lethem published a story collection, edited two anthologies, wrote magazine pieces, and published the 55-page novella This Shape We're In (2000). This Shape We're In was one of the first offerings from McSweeney's Books, the publishing imprint that developed from Dave Eggers' McSweeney's Quarterly Concern.

In November 2000, Lethem said that he was working on an uncharacteristically "big sprawling" novel, about a child who grows up to be a rock journalist.[13] The novel was published in 2003 as The Fortress of Solitude. The semi-autobiographical bildungsroman features dozens of characters in a variety of milieus, but features a tale of racial tensions and boyhood in Brooklyn during the late 1970s. The main characters are two friends of different backgrounds who grew up on the same block in Boerum Hill. It was named one of nine "Editor's Choice" books of the year by The New York Times and has been published in fifteen languages.

Lethem's second collection of short fiction, Men and Cartoons, was published in late 2004. In March 2005, The Disappointment Artist, his first collection of essays, was released. On September 20, 2005, Lethem received a MacArthur Fellowship.

In an interview with Armchair/Shotgun in 2009, Lethem said of short fiction:

I'm writing short stories right now, that's what I do between novels, and I love them. I'm very devoted to it. You know, it's funny. There seems to be some sort of law that you only get to be celebrated for one or the other. And then a couple of people will break it. Updike did. They didn't review his story collections by saying, "Well, these are nice, but he's a novelist." Or review his novels by saying, "Well, too bad he can't do the longer stuff." Other people tend to get patronized on one end or the other—and I'll take it. I have a very happy life as a novelist. But the story collections I've published are tremendously important to me. And many of the uncollected stories—or yet-to-be-collected stories—are among my proudest writings. They're very closely allied, obviously, to novel writing. But also very distinct, and, you know, there's no need to choose.[22]

2005–present

Jonathan Lethem Occupy Wall Street 2011 Shankbone
Lethem reading at Occupy Wall Street; his shirt refers to the New York Mets' home field changing from Shea Stadium, named after William Shea, to CitiField, the naming rights for which were bought by Citibank

In September 2006, Lethem wrote the article, "The Genius of Bob Dylan", a lengthy interview with Bob Dylan, which was published in Rolling Stone.[23] The interview contained Lethem's reflections on Dylan's artistic achievements. It revealed Dylan's dissatisfaction with contemporary recording techniques and his thoughts on his own status.

After Motherless Brooklyn and The Fortress of Solitude, Lethem decided that "[i]t was time to leave Brooklyn in a literary sense anyway ... I really needed to defy all that stuff about place and memory."[2] In 2007, he returned as a novelist to California, where some of his earlier fiction had been set, with You Don't Love Me Yet, a novel about an upstart rock band. The novel revolves around a woman in the band, Lucinda, who answers phones for her friend's complaint line and uses some of a caller's words as lyrics. According to Lethem, the book was inspired by the years he spent as the lead singer in an upstart California band in the late 1980s and early 1990s, during what he called "the unformed posturing phase of life".[24] The novel received mixed reviews.[7]

In 2005, Lethem had announced that he was planning to revive the Marvel Comics character Omega the Unknown in a ten-issue series to be published in 2006.[25] After hearing of the project, Omega co-creator Steve Gerber expressed personal outrage over the use of the character without his participation, though he later discussed the project with Lethem and admitted that he had "misjudged" him.[26] In May 2006, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada explained that the series had been delayed to 2007, saying that "winning the MacArthur Grant put additional and unexpected demands on [Lethem's] time."[27] The revamped Omega the Unknown series was published in ten monthly issues from October 2007 to July 2008; the issues were published in a single volume in October 2008.

In early 2007, Lethem began work on Chronic City,[28] which was published on October 13, 2009.[29] In July 2008, Lethem said that Chronic City is "set on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, it's strongly influenced by Saul Bellow, Philip K. Dick, Charles G. Finney and Hitchcock's Vertigo and it concerns a circle of friends including a faded child-star actor, a cultural critic, a hack ghost-writer of autobiographies, and a city official. And it's long and strange."[30]

His essay, "The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism" (2007), is a passionate defense of plagiarism and a call for a return to a "gift economy" in the arts. He writes,

The kernel, the soul—let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances—is plagiarism ... Don't pirate my editions; do plunder my visions. The name of the game is Give All. You, reader, are welcome to my stories. They were never mine in the first place, but I gave them to you.[31]

The essay was included in his 2011 collection, The Ecstasy of Influence: Nonfictions, Etc.[31]

In 2011, The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, edited by Pamela Jackson and Lethem, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Among other projects, Lethem published short books about John Carpenter's film They Live (published in October, 2010 as They Live) and the Talking Heads album Fear of Music.[32] Starting in 2011, he served as the Roy E. Disney Professor in Creative Writing at Pomona College, a position formerly held by the late David Foster Wallace.[33]

Lethem's ninth novel, entitled Dissident Gardens, was released on September 10, 2013.[34] According to Lethem in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the novel concerns "American leftists", very specifically "a red-diaper baby generation trying to figure out what it all means, this legacy of American Communism."[35] Regarding the novel's setting, Lethem said in the same interview that it is

set in Queens and Greenwich Village, another New York neighborhood book, very much about the life of the city ... writing about Greenwich Village in 1958 was really a jump for me, it was as much of an imaginative leap as any of the more fantastical things I've done. But really exciting, too.[35]

Dissident Gardens was quickly followed up in February 2015 with Lucky Alan and Other Stories, Lethem's fifth short story collection. Lethem's next novel, his tenth, was published in October 2016. Titled A Gambler's Anatomy (or, alternatively, The Blot in the United Kingdom), the novel concerns "an international backgammon hustler who thinks he's psychic".[36] After changing publishers from Doubleday to Ecco, Lethem is set to follow-up A Gambler's Anatomy/The Blot with The Feral Detective in November 2018, Lethem's first foray back into the detective novel genre since the acclaimed Motherless Brooklyn.[37][38]

Lethem co-wrote six out of nine songs on the Lee Ranaldo album Electric Trim, released in 2017.

Personal life

In 1987, Lethem married the writer and artist Shelley Jackson; they were divorced by 1997.[14] In 2000, he married Julia Rosenberg, a Canadian film executive; they divorced two years later.[13]

As of 2007, Lethem lived in Brooklyn and Berwick, Maine,[2] with his third wife, the filmmaker Amy Barrett.[7][39] He has two sons, Everett Barrett Lethem (b. May 23, 2007) and Desmond Brown Lethem.[13]

Bibliography

Jonathan Lethem talks about Chronic City on Bookbits radio.

Novels

Short fiction

Novellas

  • This Shape We're In (2000)

Short story collections

List of short stories

Title Year First published Reprinted/collected Notes
Ava's apartment 2009 Lethem, Jonathan (May 25, 2009). "Ava's apartment". The New Yorker.
Procedure in plain air 2009 Lethem, Jonathan (October 26, 2009). "Procedure in plain air". The New Yorker.
The gray goose 2013 Lethem, Jonathan (May 6, 2013). "The gray goose". The New Yorker. 89 (12): 62–71.

Comics

Non-fiction

Film adaptations

  • Light and the Sufferer (2009) – screenplay by Christopher Peditto based on a short story by Lethem[41]
  • The Epiphany (2011) – short film by SJ Chiro based on a short story by Lethem[42][43]

References

  1. ^ "The Jonathan Lethem Reading and Why I Need GPS". 2004-11-15. Retrieved 2017-07-19.
  2. ^ a b c d e McGlone, Jackie. "Brooklyn Dodger", The Scotsman, 2007-05-26. Retrieved on 2007-08-29.
  3. ^ "医療の不思議". richardlethem.com. Archived from the original on 26 October 2001. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Not Science Fiction". The Forward. 11 August 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Jonathan Lethem · Diary: My Egyptian Cousin: Saad Eddin Ibrahim · LRB 12 December 2002". London Review of Books. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Jonathan Lethem says Fariña was a 'perfect' teacher". Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Edemariam, Aida. "The Borrower", The Guardian, 2007-06-02. Retrieved on 2007-08-01.
  8. ^ Middlehurst, Charlotte. "Jonathan Lethem to Appear in Shanghai, Time Out Shanghai (September 26, 2011)
  9. ^ Lethem (2005). pp. 36-37.
  10. ^ a b c d "Interview: Jonathan Lethem", Post Road Magazine, Fall/Winter 2002. Retrieved on 2007-08-29.
  11. ^ a b c Kelleghan, Fiona. "Private Hells and Radical Doubts: An Interview with Jonathan Lethem", Science Fiction Studies 25.2, July 1998. Retrieved on 2007-09-17
  12. ^ "License at the Margins", California Magazine, June 2010. Retrieved on 2010-07-04.
  13. ^ a b c d Houle, Zachary. "A Conversation With Jonathan Lethem", The SF Site, November 2000. Retrieved on 2007-08-29.
  14. ^ a b c Gaffney, Elizabeth. "Jonathan Lethem: Breaking the Barriers Between Genres", Publishers Weekly, 1998-03-30. Retrieved on 2007-09-19.
  15. ^ Lethem, Jonathan. "Breeding Hybrids in the Genre Garden", Locus Magazine, October 1997. Retrieved on 2007-09-19.
  16. ^ Fleming, Michael. "Norton Birthing 'Motherless': New Line Nurturing Lethem Novel", Variety, 1999-10-13. Retrieved on 2007-08-29.
  17. ^ Clarke, Donald. "Mr. Ed", The Irish Times The Ticket, 2007-03-02. Retrieved on 2008-02-07.
  18. ^ a b Cardwell, Diane. "Untangling the Knots of a Brooklyn Boyhood", The New York Times, 2003-09-16. Retrieved on 2008-03-28.
  19. ^ Henderson, Eleanor. "From Pittsburgh to Sitka: On Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union" Archived 2009-10-10 at the Wayback Machine (book review), The Virginia Quarterly Review, Summer 2007. Retrieved on 2007-07-28.
  20. ^ Grossman, Lev (2004-12-17). "Pop Goes the Literature". Time. Retrieved 2007-03-05.
  21. ^ "Jonathan Lethem Interview" Archived 2006-05-10 at the Wayback Machine, FailBetter.com, Summer/Fall 2003. Retrieved on 2007-08-29.
  22. ^ Armchair/Shotgun - Issue 1, City Chronicle p. 114
  23. ^ "Music News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  24. ^ Gilbert, Megan. "A Hit Song of the Mind: Profile of Jonathan Lethem, Author, You Don't Love Me Yet", 2007-05-21. Retrieved on 2012-01-27.
  25. ^ Winters, Rebecca. "Meta-Hero Worship", Time, 2005-05-01. Retrieved on 2006-12-23.
  26. ^ Johnson, Rich. "Into the Unknown", Comic Book Resources, 2005-06-14. Retrieved on 2006-12-23.
  27. ^ Quesada, Joe. Joe Fridays: Week 51 Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine, Newsarama.com, 2006-05-19. Retrieved on 2006-12-24.
  28. ^ Kleffel, Rick. Jonathan Lethem (mp3 audio), The Agony Column Audio Interview Archive, 2007-04-16. Retrieved on 2007-09-07.
  29. ^ Chronic City listing, Amazon.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-13.
  30. ^ Renaud, Jeffrey. "Lethem Exits the Unknown with Omega", Comic Book Resources, 2008-07-18. Retrieved on 2008-08-03.
  31. ^ a b "The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism". harpers.org. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  32. ^ Scott, Ronnie. "The Rumpus Long Interview with Jonathan Lethem", The Rumpus, 2010-01-19. Retrieved on 2010-03-20.
  33. ^ Gretzinger, Nelle. "Jonathan Lethem Appointed Disney Professor of Creative Writing at Pomona College" Archived 2012-03-06 at the Wayback Machine, Pomona College website (April 22, 2010). Retrieved on 2012-02-26
  34. ^ [1]
  35. ^ a b Los Angeles Times (22 April 2013). "Jonathan Lethem on his upcoming novel, 'Dissident Gardens' [video]". latimes.com. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  36. ^ "A Gambler's Anatomy by Jonathan Lethem - PenguinRandomHouse.com". Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  37. ^ a b "Ecco to Publish Jonathan Lethem's Next Novel". Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  38. ^ "Prize winner Jonathan Lethem has new novel and new publisher". Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  39. ^ Gretzinger, Nelle. "The Brooklyn Fridge: Jonathan Lethem", Edible Brooklyn, Summer 2007. Retrieved on 2007-12-17
  40. ^ "Lucky Alan". Knopf Doubleday. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  41. ^ Light and the Sufferer on IMDb
  42. ^ Chiro, SJ. "The Epiphany". Violet Films, LLC. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
  43. ^ "The Epiphany (II)". IMDB. Retrieved 2012-02-07.

Sources

  • Lethem, Jonathan (2005). The Disappointment Artist. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-51217-1.

Further reading

  • Cohen, Samuel. After the End of History: American Fiction in the 1990s. University of Iowa Press, 2009. [contains discussion of The Fortress of Solitude]
  • Clarke, Jaime (ed.). Conversations with Jonathan Lethem. Literary Conversations. University Press of Mississippi, 2012.
  • Luter, Matthew. Understanding Jonathan Lethem. Understanding Contemporary American Literature. University of South Carolina Press, 2015.
  • Peacock, James. Jonathan Lethem. Contemporary American and Canadian Writers. Manchester University Press, 2012.

External links

A Gambler's Anatomy

A Gambler's Anatomy (published as The Blot in the United Kingdom) is a 2016 novel by American author Jonathan Lethem. The plot concerns Alexander Bruno, a professional backgammon player with "psychic tendencies". The novel received mixed reviews and was compared negatively to other novels by Lethem.

Amnesia Moon

Amnesia Moon is a 1995 novel by Jonathan Lethem. Lethem adapted the novel from several unpublished short stories he had written, all about catastrophic, apocalyptic events. In finished form Amnesia Moon bears homage to Philip K. Dick. In fact, during a party scene, one guest describes a battle of wills in West Marin, clearly a reference to Dick's Dr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After the Bomb. One character even cites a West Marin inhabitant named "Hoppington", evocative of the mutant telepath Hoppy Harrington in the latter book.

As She Climbed Across the Table

As She Climbed Across the Table is a 1997 science fiction novel by the American writer Jonathan Lethem. It is a satirical story set on the fictional campus of Beauchamp University in Northern California. Particle physicist Alice Coombs rooms with narrator Philip Engstrand, an anthropologist researching conflicts between and within disciplines. Their relationship drives the romantic aspect of this story. The novel deals thematically with many of the philosophical issues pertaining to modern quantum physics, as well as human interaction with artificial intelligence.

Chronic City

Chronic City (2009) is a novel by American author Jonathan Lethem.

Dissident Gardens

Dissident Gardens is Jonathan Lethem's ninth novel. It is a multigenerational saga of revolutionaries and activists, the civil rights movement and the counterculture, from the 1930s Communists to the 2010s Occupy movement, and is mostly set in Sunnyside Gardens, Queens and in Greenwich Village.

The title is an obvious play on "Sunnyside Gardens". Later, a character in East Germany writes to his American daughter, describing his workplace:

The Werkhofinstitut Rosa Luxemburg, though it goes among those of us here by a nickname, Gärten der Dissidenz, which I suppose one might translate as “Dissident Gardens,” ...

Girl in Landscape

Girl in Landscape is a science fiction novel by Jonathan Lethem, originally published as a 280-page hardback in 1998, by Doubleday Publishing Group. It is said to evoke the classic Western film The Searchers (1956).

Gun, with Occasional Music

Gun, with Occasional Music is a 1994 novel by American writer Jonathan Lethem. It blends science fiction and hardboiled detective fiction. It was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1994.

Kafka Americana

Kafka Americana is a 1999 collection of short stories by Jonathan Lethem and Carter Scholz based on the life (and alternate histories) and works of Franz Kafka. Originally published in a limited edition by Subterranean Press, it was released as a trade paperback by W. W. Norton & Company in 2001.

Love Letter (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds song)

"Love Letter" is a song by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds from their 2001 album, No More Shall We Part. A ballad written by Cave, it features him on vocals and piano with backing vocals by Kate & Anna McGarrigle.

"Love Letter" was first released as one of the songs on Nick Cave's 2000 spoken word album, The Secret Life of the Love Song.

Since its release by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on their 2001 album, No More Shall We Part, Uncut magazine has placed "Love Letter" at number 14 in its list of Nick Cave's greatest songs. The song was singled out for praise by author Jonathan Lethem, who says the "shattering simplicity" of its lyrics is "worthy of Shakespeare". In AllMusic's review of No More Shall We Part, "Love Letter" is described as a "tenderly daunting, haunted house". Author Robert Mighall described it as "a staggeringly beautiful song of forlorn love and a broken heart." Musician Victor Krummenacher described “Love Letter” as “extraordinary.”

Motherless Brooklyn

Motherless Brooklyn is a novel by Jonathan Lethem that was first published in 1999. The story is set in Brooklyn, and follows Lionel Essrog, a detective who has Tourette's, a disorder marked by involuntary tics. Essrog works for Frank Minna, a small-time neighborhood owner of a "seedy and makeshift" detective agency, who is stabbed to death. Together, Essrog and three other characters—Tony, Danny and Gilbert—call themselves "the Minna Men".

Motherless Brooklyn (film)

Motherless Brooklyn is an upcoming crime drama film written and directed by Edward Norton based on the novel of the same name by Jonathan Lethem. Norton will also star in the film, along with Willem Dafoe, Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Leslie Mann, Bobby Cannavale, Fisher Stevens, and Cherry Jones.

Omega the Unknown

Omega the Unknown was an American comic book published by Marvel Comics from 1976 to 1977, featuring the eponymous fictional character. The series, written by Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes and illustrated by Jim Mooney, ran for 10 issues before cancellation for low sales. Despite its short run, it has remained as a cult classic due to its intriguing characters and unusual storytelling. A 10-issue series revamping the character was published from 2007 to 2008, written by novelist Jonathan Lethem and illustrated by Farel Dalrymple.

Studio 360

Studio 360 is an American weekly public radio program about the arts and culture hosted by novelist Kurt Andersen and produced by Public Radio International (PRI) and Slate in New York City. The program's stated goal is to "Get inside the creative mind" and uses arts and culture as a lens to understand our world. The program was created by PRI based on an identified need for programming dedicated and focused on arts and culture journalism in media. And while the show features regular guest interviews with authors such as Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Lethem, and Miranda July, and musicians as diverse as Laura Veirs, Don Byron, and k.d. lang, it also has several recurring segments. The American Icons series attempts to understand lasting American cultural icons such as The Great Gatsby and Kind of Blue. The hour on Moby-Dick was the recipient of the 2004 Peabody Award. PRI and WNYC co-produced the show from 2000 to 2017, when Slate replaced WNYC.Studio 360 is broadcast weekly on more than 160 terrestrial radio stations throughout the country, and is also available as a podcast via the program's website, pri.org, and iTunes. It can also be heard on XM Satellite Radio on the PRI blocks on XMPR, channel 133.

In addition to the program's main podcast, a spinoff arts and culture podcast titled Sideshow is also distributed. Sideshow is hosted by Studio 360 producer Sean Rameswaram.

Sycamore Hill Writer's Workshop

Sycamore Hill Writer's Workshop is a workshop for science fiction writers. Since its origin in 1985, it has been held in Raleigh, North Carolina; Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania; and most recently in Little Switzerland, North Carolina.

Currently organized by Richard Butner, Sycamore Hill was started by John Kessel and Mark L. Van Name. It is an invitation-only workshop for established SF, fantasy, and slipstream writers. Attendees have included Kelly Link, Carol Emshwiller, Harlan Ellison, Bruce Sterling, Connie Willis, Karen Joy Fowler, Jonathan Lethem, James Patrick Kelly, Robert Frazier, Ted Chiang, Benjamin Rosenbaum, and Don Webb, among many others.

A collection of original stories from the 1994 workshop was published as the anthology Intersections: The Sycamore Hill Anthology, edited by John Kessel, Mark L. Van Name and Richard Butner (Tor Books, 1996). It includes works by Richard Butner, Carol Emshwiller, Karen Joy Fowler, Robert Frazier, Gregory Frost, Alexander Jablokov, James Patrick Kelly, John Kessel, Nancy Kress, Jonathan Lethem, Maureen F. McHugh, Michaela Roessner, Bruce Sterling, and Mark L. Van Name.

Orson Scott Card wrote about his experience at the Sycamore Hill Writer's Workshop in the essay "On Sycamore Hill." Scholars such as Michael Collins identify Card's Sycamore Hill experience as marking a critical "turning point" in his career. Sycamore Hill is known to have shaped several award-winning stories, and is featured in the acknowledgment pages of books like Ted Chiang's Arrival (Stories of Your Life).

Texas Book Festival

The Texas Book Festival is a free annual book fair held in Austin, Texas. The festival was established in 1995 by Laura Bush, then the First Lady of Texas, and Mary Margaret Farabee, wife of former State Senator Ray Farabee. The first festival took place at the Texas State Capitol in November 1996. The festival takes place in late October or early November. It is frequently cited as one of the top book festivals in the United States.The festival was initially created to benefit the state's public library system, promotes the joy of reading, and honor Texas authors. Since then, the festival has greatly expanded, with a focus on nationally known authors, attracting major bestsellers and award-winners. The revised mission statement: "The Texas Book Festival connects authors and readers through experiences that celebrate the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination. With the assistance of Honorary Chairman and librarian, Mrs. Bush, and a task force, the festival has grown, hosting more than 2,000 authors since its introduction. It grew to hosting about 250 authors each year and attracting more than 40,000 attendees. In 2015, it hit a record 300 authors, including Booker Prize winner Margaret Atwood, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Margo Jefferson, politicians Gary Hart and John Sununu, Jonathan Lethem, Lemony Snicket, Taye Diggs, Leonard Pitts, Robert Christgau and Jessica Hopper.

Each year, the festival honors a writer with the "Bookend Award" for outstanding contribution to the literature of Texas. In addition to the award event, the festival includes children's books, crafts, and costumed characters.

The Fortress of Solitude (novel)

The Fortress of Solitude is a 2003 semi-autobiographical novel by Jonathan Lethem set in Brooklyn and spanning the 1970s, '80s, and '90s. It follows two teenage friends, Dylan Ebdus and Mingus Rude, one white and one black, who discover a magic ring. The novel explores the issues of race and culture, gentrification, self-discovery, and music.

The Millions

The Millions is an online literary magazine created by C. Max Magee in 2003. It contains articles about literary topics and book reviews.

The Millions has several regular contributors as well as frequent guest appearances by literary notables, including Jeffrey Eugenides, Zadie Smith, Geoff Dyer, Susan Orlean, Jennifer Egan, Ben Marcus, Colum McCann, Chad Harbach, Deborah Eisenberg, Nathan Englander, Philip Levine, Alex Ross, Jonathan Safran Foer, John Banville, Lionel Shriver, Emma Donoghue, Fiona Maazel, Margaret Atwood, Sam Lipsyte, Aimee Bender, Keith Gessen, Lorin Stein, Michael Cunningham, Sigrid Nunez, Hari Kunzru, Jonathan Lethem, Joshua Ferris, William H. Gass, Dana Goodyear, David Shields, Rick Moody, Marco Roth, Rivka Galchen, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Elizabeth McCracken, Wells Tower, Helen DeWitt, Junot Diaz, Elif Batuman, Charles D'Ambrosio, Charles Finch, Garth Risk Hallberg, Lauren Groff, Meghan O'Rourke and George Saunders.The name was chosen as a play on Magee's name, Maximilian, and because Magee thought the site would be millions of interesting things.The Millions posted an open letter to the Swedish Academy in 2011 asking it to "stop the nonsense and give Philip Roth a Nobel Prize for Literature before he dies."

The Wall of the Sky, the Wall of the Eye

The Wall of the Sky, the Wall of the Eye is a 1996 collection of seven short stories by Jonathan Lethem. In 2002 a collection of the same name appeared in the United Kingdom that also contained seven stories, but two stories from the earlier collection—"Vanilla Dunk" and "Forever, Said the Duck"—were replaced by "Access Fantasy" and "How We Got Into Town And Out Again". All of the stories, as with much of Lethem's early work, have definite science fiction elements despite their widely varying content and some thinly veiled commentary on modern society.

The collection won a World Fantasy Award in 1997.

You Don't Love Me Yet

You Don't Love Me Yet (2007) is a comic novel about alternative music from Jonathan Lethem, set in modern Los Angeles.

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