Re: RARA-AVIS: favor & Motherless Brooklyn
Mon, 4 Oct 1999 10:35:54 EDT

In a message dated 10/4/99 8:59:15 AM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

> Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn looks
> like book of the year material. Worthy of literary prizes while still
> fitting snuggly into the Hardboiled category. Interesting, because you can
> tell Lethem has a love for genre, and in all his books, he works inside the
> genre to tear it apart and remodel.

I completely agree with Neil. Especially amusing are some of Lionel Essrog's
(the narrator with Tourette's) outbursts, some of which feature familiar HB names ("Flitcraft!"). There are also frequent allusions to Chandler, Hammett, and Ross MacDonald in particular, whose Archer novels inspire one character to open a detective agency.

I especially enjoyed MOTHERLESS, because much of takes place in the Carroll Gardens/Boreum Hill section of Brooklyn, where I lived for two years. Once, in a brief conversation with Lethem, he told me that he grew up in that area in the 70s, before it was invaded by Manhattanites looking for cheap rent and turned into a decent neighborhood again.

 In fact, I unknowingly passed the Minna Men Headquarters (just two storefronts from the "F" train on Bergen Street) everyday when going to work.


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