Thursday, October 14, 2010

A brief hello from pleasant (if fairly boring) Albufeira, to strongly recommend Jonathan Lethem's "Chronic City". Perhaps one caveat--it really helps, I imagine, if you're a New Yorker. The novel just drips Manhattan, quite consciously (indeed, it's a theme). But I detected a good deal of the Pynchon of "Gravity's Rainbow" as well, a similarly acute and carefully limned paranoia in play. Not to give anything away but, as much of NYC as is there, it's not quite the NYC we know and Lethem manages a fine balancing act therein, always skirting the edge of the overly-absurd. His best work yet, imho.

A few years ago, he showed up at Record Club, but it was one such meeting I missed. Still kicking myself for that. Three tracks were played by each that night (not sure why). Lethem's choices were The Coasters (What Is the Secret of Your Success?), Marvin Gaye (Goin' Home) and Biz Markie (I Need a Haircut)

Began Tom McCarthy's "C", which starts quite well...


Unknown said...

Is this where I insert a snarky comment about your coming back home with 20 CDs of field recordings? :) I hope you're having a great time.

david_grundy said...

be interested to know what you make of 'c' as it develops. i find that the stylistic affectation of writing the entire book in the present tense puts my back up. and there's something rather arid about it all (not to say absurd about the way the hero beds down everyone he meets, though that may be an intentional absurdity). but it's certainly a complex weave of ideas.

Brian Olewnick said...

David, I'm just 100+ pages in.The present tense doesn't bother me but I'm beginning to get a little itchy about the lack of any kind of core in the main character, though I suppose that could be a point, that he's another "C", a cypher. I do love the way he (McCarthy) observes the world, with an attention to detail of the sort that (stretching a point) seems right up the alley for those who enjoy the sort of music we do, especially field recordings. Something of the same kind of appreciation of natural events, including human-propelled ones.

Chris Cochrane said...


Please make and effort to come Them, the show I'm involved with at PS122. I am very proud and excited about what we have created

There are seven more shows two tonight and 5 next week. Wednesday - Saturday, two at Saturday.

Ask Dan and Julia about the show tonight if you are at record club.

Best - Chris