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The Resource Lucky Alan : and other stories, Jonathan Lethem

Lucky Alan : and other stories, Jonathan Lethem

Label
Lucky Alan : and other stories
Title
Lucky Alan
Title remainder
and other stories
Statement of responsibility
Jonathan Lethem
Title variation
Different kind of tension : stories
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"Jonathan Lethem's third collection of stories uncovers a father's nervous breakdown at SeaWorld in "Pending Vegan"; a foundling child rescued from the woods during a blizzard in "Traveler Home"; a political prisoner in a hole in a Brooklyn street in "Procedure in Plain Air"; and a crumbling, haunted "blog" on a seaside cliff in "The Dreaming Jaw, The Salivating Ear." Each of these locates itself in Lethem-land, which can be discovered only by visiting. As in his celebrated novels, Lethem finds the uncanny lurking in the mundane, the irrational self-defeat seeping through our upstanding pursuits, and the tragic undertow of the absurd world(s) in which we live. Devoted fans of Lethem will recognize familiar themes: the anxiety of influence taken to reductio ad absurdum in "The King of Sentences"; a hapless, horny outsider summoning bravado in "The Porn Critic"; characters from forgotten comics stranded on a desert island in "Their Back Pages." As always in Lethem, humor and poignancy work in harmony, humans strive desperately for connection, words find themselves misaligned to deeds, and the sentences are glorious" --
Storyline
Pace
Writing style
Character
Review
  • Lethem’s short stories are all over the map, psychically speaking—though the settings do range from New York and New England to Sea World and an atoll “in a wide barren sea peppered with shark’s fins.” Readers looking for a comforting consistency of style won’t find it here, as Lethem is intent on testing boundaries: even when his fiction is at its most realistic, there’s an unreality that makes it almost dreamlike. Still, universal themes—people struggling to connect, to express themselves, and to find their places in an alienating world—emerge. “Their Back Pages” strands comic-strip characters on a desert island with surprisingly affecting results; “Procedure in Plain Air,” about random incarcerations in New York, invites an allegorical reading; “Pending Vegan” renders parental anxiety as “Family life, a cataclysm of solitudes”; “Traveler Home” is a haunting, modern fairy tale. With a few exceptions, these tend to be more intellectually involving than emotionally affecting. But readers willing to endure a little discomfort on the journey will find themselves in some fascinating new territory.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Lethem stretching beyond his comfort zone will attract many readers. -- Graff, Keir (Reviewed 12-15-2014) (Booklist, vol 111, number 8, p26)
  • In Lethem’s collection, following the novel Dissident Gardens , the stories use absurdity, satire, or incongruity to contrast the quotidian. A bookstore clerk and his girlfriend obsess over the cadence and precision of language, stalking the reclusive writer they’ve deemed “The King of Sentences” (in the story of that name). In “Procedure in Plain Air,” the main character, sitting outside his favorite cafe, watches a work crew dig a hole in the street, then lower a bound and gagged man into the chasm. In “Porn Critic,” the lonesome Kromer reflects on his titular vocation, realizing his “special literacy was... positively toxic.” Unfortunately, the characters, with exquisitely improbable names like Sigismund Blondy, C. Phelps Northrup, and Invisible Luna, seldom surpass the concepts that formed them, and the ideas of the stories are more promising than the stories themselves. Although nearly every sentence captures Lethem’s sharp wit and copious imagination, reminding us that Lethem himself is perhaps the king of sentences after all, the sum of the parts rarely adds up. The most rewarding exception is “Pending Vegan,” which begins, “Paul Espeseth, who was no longer taking the antidepressant Celexa, braced himself for a cataclysm at Sea World.” The story that follows fulfills this line’s prediction with all the intrigue, emotion, and blunt force of reality. (Feb.) --Staff (Reviewed November 3, 2014) (Publishers Weekly, vol 261, issue 44, p)
  • Since Lethem is so good at conjuring scenes and depicting characters that would seem, well, made up in other narratives, these nine short pieces should be as good as his National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Motherless Brooklyn . The title story captures a legendary (but maybe washed-up) theater director in a classic New York setting while effectively portraying an achingly fraught friendship and asking how we measure what people say. --Barbara Hoffert (Reviewed September 15, 2014) (Library Journal, vol 139, issue 15, p49)
  • /* Starred Review */ These nine stories by a leading American writer almost all bend away from realism, and one goes well into fantasy, while offering choice prose and insights. Lethem (Dissident Gardens, 2013, etc.) has a rubbery Gumby brain that bounces among genres, elements of pop culture and everyday abnormalities. "Their Back Pages" tells of a comic-book plane crash that maroons on an island 13 characters (such as the armless King Phnudge and the clown Large Silly). Their adventure fluidly, delightfully mixes human and cartoon elements, along with a hint of something malign. In "Procedure in Plain Air," which more than nods to Donald Barthelme, a bound man is casually and without explanation placed alive in a hole in a Manhattan street, and a passerby is enlisted to watch over him. The title character of "The Porn Critic" has a certain cachet among his peers, in part by managing a sex-toy shop and reviewing its adult films, but his simple romantic ambitions are foiled when the lady in question sees the piles of XXX DVDs in his flat. "Traveler Home" starts as fragments, like aides-mémoire for a larger work, then blossoms into a modern Grimm tale. "The King of Sentences" tells of two sentence-loving, unpublished writers hunting the reclusive man of the title when they aren't concocting lines like, "I can hardly bear your heel at my nape without roaring." One story concerns the estrangement between the narrator and his blog, where "gulls have skeletonized the corpse in the entranceway," among other things. It's as far out there as jazz might be to a Beatles fan. At the other end of the scale is an almost conventional piece about a family outing to SeaWorld that is colored by the father's being weaned from the antidepressant Celexa. Lethem's humor ranges from rueful to sly to "big silly," and his careful, mostly unshowy writing has a gift for charming a reader into almost anything.(Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2014)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10395820
Cataloging source
RV8
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Lethem, Jonathan
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS
Literary form
short stories
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
Human beings
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
and other stories
Label
Lucky Alan : and other stories, Jonathan Lethem
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Contents
  • The
  • empty room
  • The
  • dreaming jaw, the salivating ear
  • Pending vegan
  • Lucky Alan
  • The
  • king of sentences
  • Traveler home
  • Procedure in plain air
  • Their back pages
  • The
  • porn critic
Control code
000054324104
Dimensions
22 cm.
Edition
First edition.
Extent
157 pages
Isbn
9780385539814
Isbn Type
(HRD)
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)891155835
Label
Lucky Alan : and other stories, Jonathan Lethem
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Contents
  • The
  • empty room
  • The
  • dreaming jaw, the salivating ear
  • Pending vegan
  • Lucky Alan
  • The
  • king of sentences
  • Traveler home
  • Procedure in plain air
  • Their back pages
  • The
  • porn critic
Control code
000054324104
Dimensions
22 cm.
Edition
First edition.
Extent
157 pages
Isbn
9780385539814
Isbn Type
(HRD)
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)891155835

Library Locations

    • Lionel Bowen Library and Community CentreBorrow it
      669-673 Anzac Parade, Marouba, NSW, 2035, AU
      -33.938111 151.237977
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