CHRONIC CITY [2009], by Jonathan Lethem

Chronic City

R. Tim Morris’ Rating: 9/10

Though I’m totally aware that this is not a “perfect” book, or even a must-read that can be easily recommended, this is certainly one of my favorite novels. I’ve read it twice now in the last year and a half and I’ll admit that I enjoyed it more the second time, since I knew what to expect.

It’s hard to imagine a book so wordy and so much about pot-heads and socialites (mostly pot-heads!) sitting around discussing conspiracy theories and pop culture to be so darned interesting but Chronic City is just that. A dense read, well-crafted with enough mystery for those who like it and enough ambiguity for those who don’t. Throw in ideas such as a giant tiger prowling the streets of Manhattan, mysterious chaldrons and astronauts trapped in orbit by Chinese space mines and you’ve got me hooked.

Jonathan Lethem dazzles me with his vocabulary and inspires me to keep honing my own craft. In my mind, a masterpiece! Chronic City has its flaws – I could have done away with the dog-heavy chapters in the last 1/4 – but not enough to keep me from a third reading in the future.

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