Monday, October 19, 2009

Jonathan Lethem, living in 'Chronic City'

Jonathan Lethem. Photo: Fred Benenson

Today, Time chats with Brooklyn son Jonathan Lethem about his new book, Chronic City.

Talking with a very New York City-centric writer, naturally, the boroughs came up in the conversation. When asked what popped into his head when he thought of Manhattan as a kid growing up here, Lethem observed the complicated relationship every New York City native has because "it's the place that everyone's aspiring to get to":

Even in Brooklyn or Queens you can have that feeling. And yet you also feel a sense of possession. It belongs to you; you're a New Yorker, you're entitled to it, but disenfranchised from it at the same time. I loved Manhattan in a very traditional Saturday Night Fever type of way. I just wanted to get there. And I did, for high school. I applied to this special arts high school and started taking the subway every day and suddenly Manhattan was mine.

In a way, Lethem never achieved this aspiration of crossing the bridge and living in Manahttan, as he stil resides in Brooklyn, in Boerum Hill. Though we don't see this as a failing on his part.

Living in a city like New York, where the past and present are intrinsically linked (with the former oftentimes getting left behind, as photographer Nathan Kensinger is prone to capture) has also been a big influence on the New York native. He says:
But I guess, as a Brooklyn-ite, I'm predisposed to see the things that are being lost in the equation, lost in the constant glamorous renovation and the veneer of new money that's always being laid over the top of things in Manhattan. There's this constant adjacency of the present and the past. The past doesn't go away just because the present arrives. It just moves over one step.
As he promotes his latest novel, Lethem finds himself hopping between the boroughs, embarking on a marathon reading that brings him to six book stores in seven different events as he reads his book in its entirely throughout the course of the month-long stretch.

The marathon kicked off last Friday as part of the New Yorker Festival, and continues tomorrow at Book Court in Cobble Hill at 7 p.m.

Here's the rest of the schedule, so you can get the book in its entirety from the author's lips, without even reading.

Wednesday, October 21: McNally Jackson, Prince Street, Manhattan
Friday, October 23: Barnes & Noble, Upper East Side, Manhattan
Thursday, November 5: Greenlight Books, Fort Greene, Brooklyn

Friday, November 13: Cue Foundation Gallery, Chelsea, Manhattan
Tuesday, November 17: Spoonbill & Sugartown, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (read more about the book store here as it celebrates its 10-year anniversary)
Friday, December 4: It's back to Book Court for a closing party with prizes and surprises promised


Copyright © 2009 All rights reserved

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP