Motherless Brooklyn

The Other Stuff

His latest book is crap—in my mind anyway. Jonathan Lethem’s The Arrest takes place in the near future, some years after everything stops. You know, everything: electronics, motors, hydraulics, solar power, indoor plumbing. Amenities, creature comforts. It all stops, but you never learn why. Witchcraft is my guess. As good a reason as anything else.

The cartoon cover should have been my clue, and it almost was. It drew an eye-roll, but then I read the back cover; they called it a dystopian story. I’m a sucker for dystopian. But here’s the thing, they actually portrayed a utopia. An agrarian society, bicycles as transport, homemade wine, bushels of weed, a community library. It all seemed pretty A-OK to me. But of course, there was the stupid car on the cover. And around that stupid car sat a stupid plot. Whatever. I gutted through the book, the whole way wondering why…

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