Won't Be Disappointed
When it comes to much-talked-about authors, there is certainly no shortage of Jonathans these days. There's hotshot wunderkind Jonathan Safran Foer, who tackles the heaviest of subjects (the Holocaust, 9/11) through the use of somewhat (or, some may say, extremely) gimmicky devices. There's Jonathan Franzen, who won the 2001 National Book Award for "The Corrections," but is probably best known for his rift with Oprah. (She wanted to use "The Corrections" for her book group; he was worried that by having his book associated with Oprah it would tarnish his reputation in certain circles. Oprah wasn't happy.)
And then there's Jonathan Lethem. He also won a National Book Award, for his 1999 novel "Motherless Brooklyn." And he is no stranger to a gimmicky device either -- the main character of "Motherless Brooklyn" suffers from Tourette's syndrome, which does lead to some rather hilarious situations. Lethem's most recent novel, 2003's "Fortress of Solitude," cemented his status as one of the most consistently absorbing novelists around, but he's gone a more David Sedaris route with "The Disappointment Artist." It's a collection of essays chronicling his relationship with various bits of pop culture from his past and also features some personal recollections that give it the feel of a more classic memoir. Politics and Prose always attracts the best names in the literary world, but this is one especially not to be missed. The always-engaging Lethem will read from and discuss "The Disappointment Artist" Thursday at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose.
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