Rob Brunner
October 09, 2009 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Chronic City

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Jonathan Lethem
publisher
Doubleday
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

Jonathan Lethem’s latest novel follows the blank, descriptively named former teen actor Chase Insteadman as he floats, increasingly disoriented and adrift, between two New York worlds: one glamorous and social, the other bohemian and intellectual. Thick with paranoia, pot smoke, and pop culture references (both real and made-up), Chronic City is a feverish portrait of the anxiety and isolation of modern Manhattan, full of dark humor and dazzling writing. The book’s zonked philosophizing about the nature of reality wears a little thin, but Lethem’s claustrophobic vision of a world where everything is connected and nothing is as it seems proves both funny and frightening. A?

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