Monday, November 08, 2004

Lethem's 'Cartoons' network

Author Jay McInerney reviews Jonathan Lethem's short-story collection Men and Cartoons for The New York Times Sunday Book Review:

"While some of Lethem's work -- like the story 'The Dystopianist, Thinking of His Rival, Is Interrupted by a Knock on the Door' -- seems as glib and tired as the word postmodernism itself, his best novels and stories are elevated by his ability to particularize his artificial landscapes and to humanize their inhabitants. For all his self-consciousness, he generally can't disguise his compassion for his creations. Lethem is, to borrow one of his favorite words, a lovable dystopianist. You sense that he wants to be liked as well as admired; he has the will and the ability to seduce and emotionally engage the reader even as he celebrates the artificiality of narrative conventions."