Jonathan Lethem is one of American literature’s most omnivorous talents, with fingers in science fiction (Gun, with Occasional Music, Amnesia Moon, Girl in Landscape), crime fiction (Motherless Brooklyn) and rock journalism. His whip-smart critical essays have poked at topics including art, used books, Donald Sutherland’s butt, John Wayne and superhero films. Lethem’s latest novel, Dissident Gardens, is perhaps his most political to date, offering a sweeping account of multiple generations of American agitators, communists, and would-be revolutionaries.
One of New York’s sharpest and most curious talents joins us for a conversation about his latest book, Dissident Gardens, and much more. With Chloe Hooper.
Jonathan Lethem is one of the US’s greatest contemporary writers, exploring a range of subjects across an array of forms. He has written nine novels including Motherless Brooklyn, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the international bestseller The Fortress of Solitude, and his most recent, Dissident Gardens. Jonathan’s stories and essays have been collected in five volumes, and have appeared in The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, McSweeney’s and many other periodicals. His books have been translated into more than 30 languages.
Chloe Hooper’s The Tall Man: Death and Life on Palm Island (2008) won the Victorian, New South Wales, West Australian and Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, as well as the John Button Prize for Political Writing, and a Ned Kelly Award for crime writing. Her latest book is The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire (2018). She is also the author of two novels, A Child’s Book of True Crime and The Engagement.