Motherless Brooklyn

Motherless BrooklynMotherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I would give this novel more than five stars if I could! I loved it!

There’s a compelling whodunit at the center of MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN, and a sense of humor both broad and sly, but in many ways the novel is about language and that’s where author Jonathan Lethem shines. MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN is an exquisitely written book, with prose that places us so deeply inside the mind of our Tourettic hero Lionel Essrog that his verbal and physical tics, which might feel so alarming and random if encountered in real life, begin to make a kind of sense to us here. The characters are wonderfully and indelibly drawn: Lionel, of course, but also his mentor and father figure Frank Minna; the bitter and disappointed Julia Minna; the two old gangsters, Matricardi and Rockaforte (“Garden State Bricko and Stuckface”), who might talk like a parody of Marlon Brando in THE GODFATHER but are not to be underestimated; and the utterly oblivious Kimmery.

It would be a great novel just on its own, but the fact that I lived for twenty years in the very Brooklyn neighborhood in which it takes place — including several years on Bergen Street, where the fictional L&L Car Service has its office — added an extra layer of enjoyment for me. I recognized many of the landmarks Lethem utilizes to ground the story with a sense of place: Ziad’s, here called Zeod’s, the deli on Smith Street that made the best sandwiches in the neighborhood; the Brooklyn Inn, here called the Boerum Hill Inn, which was my watering hole for many years (and the neighborhood’s only English-speaking bar for a time); the Promenade and DeGraw Street (where I also lived for several years), and of course those old Garden State Brickface and Stucco commercials. More than a novel for me, MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN doubled as an enjoyable walk down memory lane.

View all my reviews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



News & Updates

  • 07/18/2018 — Brand New Blurb for 100 FATHOMS BELOW!Check out this awesome new blurb for 100 Fathoms Below! “Full of claustrophobic horror, Cold War submarine warfare, and hardcore evil, 100 Fathoms Below creates a powerful sense of place and a tension that festers in your gut throughout.…Read more »
  • 07/17/2018 — My Necon 38 ScheduleNecon 38 is coming up this weekend! Necon is my favorite annual convention.…Read more »
  • 07/17/2018 — Mine!Mine!: A Comics Collection to Benefit Planned Parenthood by Molly Jackson My rating: 5 of 5 stars A great collection of short comics in support of a great cause!…Read more »
  • 07/07/2018 — The TerrorThe Terror by Dan Simmons My rating: 5 of 5 stars A masterpiece of historical fiction and supernatural horror, Dan Simmons’s THE TERROR is a novel that requires your patience.…Read more »
  • 06/26/2018 — My Readercon 29 ScheduleReadercon 29 is just a few weeks away! I have received my programming schedule, so here’s where you can find me over the course of the convention: Friday, July 13th (yikes!) Kaffeeklatsch, 11:00 AM, Seven Masts Come join me for some morning coffee and a lively discussion about my books, the writing class I will be teaching for LitReactor in the fall, lessons from my career, and the usual selection of bad jokes!…Read more »