Thursday, January 20, 2005

Motherless Brooklyn
by Jonathan Lethem

A conversation between a gangster, wired so his stooge outside—who suffers from Tourette's—can listen in, and a mystery man inside a Manhattan zendo ("a Japanese church") kicks off the novel. The rest of the novel, told by the Touretter, details how he was rescued and mentored by the gangster, first as a petty criminal, then as a shady detective. Between tics, barks, and outbursts, the narrator fumbles through a murder investigation, tailed by a killer giant. Gradually the Touretter collects clues and the meaning of the confusing conversation from the first pages unfolds, a message in a bottle. And, yes, of course there's a little graphic sex, too. The narrator admits to a lover that someone once said his dick is shaped like a beer can. Some people lack all the luck.


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