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. True to form, Lethem’s latest work also pulses with references to cultural touchstones, with ’70s folk music culture embedded deeply within the narrative, much as rap and comic books featured in his semi-autobiographical novel The Fortress of Solitude.
“I can see human lives in cultural terms,” Lethem has said. “My characters, the kind of people I know, define themselves culturally. The kinds of music, the kinds of clothing, the kinds of attitudes, [and] literature, these are the ways they name who they are and how they feel.”
One of New York’s sharpest and most curious talents joins us at Deakin Edge for a conversation about his latest book, Dissident Gardens, and certainly 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... Read more
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 Mi... Read more
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