Jeffery Eugenides

Jonathan Lethem’s ‘Dissident Gardens’: In Praise of Authors Who Aren’t Afraid to Geek Out


When I tell people that Jonathan Lethem’s latest novel, Dissident Gardens, is the author’s most accessible work, I tend to walk away from the conversation thinking I did the person I was talking to, and the author, a disservice. The book isn’t less engaging or a step down from his previous works; what I mean is that Dissident Gardens is Lethem’s easiest novel to follow, and far less genre- and culture reference-dependent than past novels like Chronic City (science fiction) and Motherless Brooklyn (postmodern detective novel).
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