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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Gun, with Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem 
21st-Sep-2006 11:20 pm
Well, I guess this'll be all for Lethem for now until I can find more of his novels on the cheap.

Lethem, Jonathan. Gun, with Occasional Music. 1994. New York: Harvest, 2003.
Summary: Private Inquisitor Conrad Metcalf becomes embroiled in a murder investigation wherein the deceased, who was addicted to recreational memory-loss drugs, actually had himself killed unknowingly.
Comments: Lethem seems as addicted to futuristic, dystopian world-building as his protagonist to his "make." Very British, reminds me of Brave New World, but I'm not exactly sure how to understand the rationale behind psychological escapism on one hand and making babies and animals way smarter on the other. Not exactly the most rational of moves...but then the society's not supposed to be rational. Yet given the lack of authorial explanation and the apparent top-down social order, I would've at least expected ideological consistency. Unfortunately, plotting and characterization take a very distant second and third to world-building--I'm starting to get the impression that Lethem has trouble focusing all of his creative energies on more than one element of novel writing at a time. The part about Conrad getting stuck with an ex-girlfriend's nerve endings has got to be the most inventive excuse for misogyny I've ever seen, however. Though more viscerally entertaining than Motherless Brooklyn, it is not as literary.
Notes: trade paperback, 1st printing
Rating: 6/10 - A fun read, but it doesn't exactly make very intellectual demands upon the reader. And it could have, done differently.
22nd-Sep-2006 07:35 am (UTC)
but then the society's not supposed to rational.

Is society ever rational?
22nd-Sep-2006 10:07 am (UTC)
Not rational, necessarily--it's probably the wrong word to use--but given the top-down social order, I would at least expect consistency. Heck, even the Bush administration is consistent in that it's always about MORE for him and his pals (more power for the president, more money for the super rich supporters)...and I consistently don't like it.
1st-Oct-2006 03:29 am (UTC)
Review archived.
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