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Jonathan Lethem, Brooklyn Crime Novel
October 15, 2023 @ 2:00 pm
“The levels of mystery here astound. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts and then the parts decide to act alone and challenge the whole. Lethem is not only interrogating the form of the crime novel, but the venture of storytelling itself. All of this while remaining a joy to read. Full of strange characters and expertly rendered place. This brilliant, genre-defying work will certainly leave a mark.”
On the streets of 1970s Brooklyn, a daily ritual goes down: the dance. Money is exchanged, belongings surrendered, power asserted. The promise of violence lies everywhere, a currency itself. For these children, Black, brown, and white, the street is a stage in shadow. And in the wings hide the other players: parents; cops; renovators; landlords; those who write the headlines, the histories, and the laws; those who award this neighborhood its name.
The rules appear obvious at first. But in memory’s prism, criminals and victims may seem to trade places. The voices of the past may seem to rise and gather as if in harmony, then make war with one another. A street may seem to crack open and reveal what lies behind its glimmering facade. None who lived through it are ever permitted to forget.
Written with kaleidoscopic verve and delirious wit, Brooklyn Crime Novel is a breathtaking tour de force by a writer at the top of his powers. Jonathan Lethem, “one of America’s greatest storytellers” (Washington Post), has crafted an epic interrogation of how we fashion stories to contain the uncontainable: our remorse at the world we’ve made.