Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Chronic-City
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
review 2014-02-10 22:43
Review | Chronic City, Jonathan Lethem | 3 Stars
Chronic City - Jonathan Lethem

Before you raise your eyebrows, let me say this: Chronic City is a book with no real plot, but somehow it works. The lack of plot is almost the point.


Chronic City is Jonathan Lethem’s newest novel, eagerly devoured by the many lovers of Fortress of Solitude. I never actually read Fortress, but I did read and really enjoy Motherless Brooklyn. I was a little wary of Chronic City, wondering if I as a non-smoker (of any substance) would really be able to appreciate it. Curiosity convinced me to pick it up anyway. Sometimes it’s good to get out of your comfort zone.


So I read Chronic City, which is the story of former child star Chase Insteadman, jobless but living comfortably, a permanent fixture of New York’s social circuit, continuously pretending to pine for the stranded astronaut fiancée he barely remembers. Enter Perkus Tooth, a peculiar self-appointed music and movie critic who seems to only consume weed, coffee and bagels. And this is where I run out of explanation. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of things happen in this book – it’s just hard to isolate a single narrative thread. It’s more like a tableau of the people and places and things that populate Chase Insteadman’s seemingly pointless life.


And, weirdly enough, that seems to be the point. Chase’s life is pointless. That’s the point. New York is coming down around his ears and every other character has a mission to complete, but Chase simply floats along, a footnote in everyone else’s story, living life on pause while Janice is stranded in outer space.


This is a deeply weird book. It probably makes more sense if you’re high. That being said, I did enjoy it. Lethem has an uncanny ability to describe things in unexpectedly accurate ways, and his sense of humor often zaps you like a bee sting when you’re not quite ready for it.


Example A (and my favorite passage from the entire book):

“Hark!” said Perkus. When he spoke the hiccups emerged as silences, but when he was silent they took the form of these Shakespearean exhortations.

I won’t give away the end, but the story does get suddenly serious. It’s almost difficult to grasp, but what Lethem seems to be saying is: Everything you think you know about New York (and possibly your life) is a lie. Now what are you going to do about it?


Three stars. Find it on Goodreads here (and then buy it from a real bookstore!)

Source: inkedoutloud.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/review-chronic-city-a-book-with-no-plot
Like Reblog Comment
review 2013-07-17 00:00
Chronic City: A Novel
Chronic City - Jonathan Lethem When I started reading this book, I felt that the writing was a bit commercial and unrefined. I felt there were too many superlative adjectives and unnecessary “forceful” verbs for my taste, like “He jammed the disc into the boom box”. Then I read the parts involving Chase buying the book “Obstinate Dust” from Perkus’s acquaintance, which is a clear allusion to David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest”. What was said in this part of the novel about “Obstinate Dust” was not all that favorable, and I was ready to rip Chronic City apart, and had witty alternate titles ready to refer to it as, such as “Subsonic Pity”, or just “Chronic Pity”. But then I did some Google searching, and read an interview with Lethem where he says that anything that gets into his book is something that has “tremendous meaning to me, value, and interest”. So even though he could be playing it safe by saying this, I found myself easing up on my critique of Lethem, but then I think, whoa, this should have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with whether I enjoy and find value in a novel or not. Have I lost all objectivity?


I read (or at least I believe I tried to read) the rest of the book with an open mind, and I ended up really liking it. At its heart , I felt the book was about the search for truth in a world where much can be fabricated, both by the people around you and also by yourself. It was well done, and the writing style really picked up after what I felt was a rough start.

Also, “Obstinate Dust” made a reappearance towards the end of the novel, and in a slightly better light, so all is forgiven I guess.
Like Reblog Comment
review 2012-02-18 00:00
Chronic City - Jonathan Lethem This was fine, ranging from excellent to okay. At best, it's a manic, word-choked, Philip K. Dick-invoking search for meaning, love, and the grail, strewn with the mines of Lacanian desires that cannot be fulfilled. Chase Insteadman, naive ex-child star, pines (or doesn't) for his lostronaut fiancee, trapped in space, and with his friends, searches for a truth that will endure. At its worst, it's pages and pages of your stoned friends' uninteresting discussion about drugs and their revelatory power, though the revelation is often that marijuana affects their perspective on reality, if reality exists.
Like Reblog Comment
review 2011-03-28 00:00
Chronic City: A Novel
Chronic City - Jonathan Lethem Illusionary Tooth living off THC the wonderful herb. All sort of different kinds Ice his favorite.
Really enjoyed this book a great read for fans of humor about people living the fuck it life.
Like Reblog Comment
review 2011-03-12 00:00
Chronic City
Chronic City - Johann Christoph Maass,Michael Zöllner,Jonathan Lethem Chase Insteadman ist ein gern gesehener Gast auf Dinerpartys in New York, allerdings weniger wegen seiner Person, sondern in erster Linie, weil er mit einer im All verschollenen Astronautin verlobt ist und bei ein paar Leuten vielleicht noch, weil er als Kind der Star einer Fernsehserie war. Seither lebt er von seinen Tantiemen und hat sonst nicht viel vorzuweisen, außer eben seiner Verlobten Janice. Diese schreibt ihm Briefe, die in der kriegsfreien Ausgabe der New York Times abgedruckt werden und somit ganz New York zu Tränen rühren.Sein Leben ändert sich, als er den ehemaligen Rockkritiker Perkus Tooth trifft. Mit dem Verschwörungstheoretiker begibt er sich auf die von Marihuana umnebelte Suche nach der Wahrheit, nach der Wahrheit um einen riesigen Tiger, der in New York wütet, nach der Wahrheit um die Kaldrone, einzigartig schöne Vasen, deren Anblick allein genügt, süchtig zu machen, nach der Wahrheit um Chase’ Liebe zu Janice und zu seiner Geliebten Oona,nach der Wahrheit um New York, nach der Wahrheit des Lebens.Chronic City ist kein einfaches Buch. Obwohl Jonathan Lethems Schreibstil flüssig zu lesen ist, gibt es in Chronic City doch manche Passagen, die langatmig sein können, manche Szenen wirken willkürlich aneinander gereiht, die Geschichte um Chase und Perkus verschwimmt in ihren verkifften Dialogen und vieles scheint aus der Luft gegriffen. Doch immer wieder zeigt Lethem, dass es sich lohnt, dieses Werk in Angriff zu nehmen, sei es durch Sätze, die man einfach geniessen kann und gerne noch einmal liest, durch skurrile Szenen oder durch die kauzigen Charaktere, allen voran Perkus Tooth. Zum Ende hin nimmt Chronic City zudem eine überraschende Wendung, die den Roman nochmals aufwertet.Wer sich nicht scheut, Gehirnschmalz in die Deutung eines Romans zu stecken, vielleicht sogar mit anderen darüber diskutieren kann, wer sich von anstrengendem Lesen nicht abschrecken lässt, dem sei Chronic City empfohlen.
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?