Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem
(Vintage Contemporaries)

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Synopsis

The bestselling and beloved author of Motherless Brooklyn and The Fortress of Solitude delivers a searing love letter to the city that has inspired his finest work.
 
Chase Insteadman, former child television star, has a new role in life—permanent guest on the Upper East Side dinner party circuit, where he is consigned to talk about his astronaut fiancée, Janice Trumbull, who is trapped on a circling Space Station. A chance encounter collides Chase with Perkus Tooth, a wily pop culture guru with a vicious conspiratorial streak and the best marijuana in town. Despite their disparate backgrounds and trajectories Chase and Perkus discover they have a lot in common, including a cast of friends from all walks of life in Manhattan.  Together and separately they attempt to define the indefinable, and enter into a quest for the most elusive of things: truth and authenticity in a city where everything has a price. 


BONUS MATERIAL: This edition includes an excerpt from Jonathan Lethem's Dissident Gardens.  

 

About Jonathan Lethem

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JONATHAN LETHEM is the author of six novels, including Motherless Brooklyn,The Fortress of Solitude, and Gun, with Occasional Music. He lives in Brooklyn.
 
Published October 7, 2009 by Vintage. 481 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Chronic City

The New York Times

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This new novel pretentiously — and clumsily — tries to create a kind of virtual-reality game version of Manhattan.

Oct 13 2009 | Read Full Review of Chronic City (Vintage Contemp...

The New York Times

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This exuberant novel set in a drug-addled, alternate-reality Manhattan is at its heart a traditional story of moral and intellectual development.

Oct 25 2009 | Read Full Review of Chronic City (Vintage Contemp...

The Guardian

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Mar 22 2010 | Read Full Review of Chronic City (Vintage Contemp...

The Guardian

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Perkus is writing the liner notes to a DVD Chase is narrating, and Chase begins to spend his days listening to Perkus's lectures on Marlon Brando, though both are so regularly stoned they're not even aware that Brando is dead.

Jan 08 2010 | Read Full Review of Chronic City (Vintage Contemp...

The Guardian

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Lethem has long been concerned with memory and forgetting and the main characters in Chronic City, apart from Perkus, share a worrying tendency towards forgetfulness (aided by the vast quantities of cannabis they inhale).

Jan 16 2010 | Read Full Review of Chronic City (Vintage Contemp...

BC Books

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In a world where people write other people's life stories for them, where people fake love for one another, where a trip to Stonehenge is reduced to a stop at a rest room, what is it that has meaning?

Aug 14 2010 | Read Full Review of Chronic City (Vintage Contemp...

BC Books

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Nov 07 2009 | Read Full Review of Chronic City (Vintage Contemp...

The Wall Street Journal

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This is one of the early confessions of the narrator of "Chronic City," a hapless 40-year-old man named Chase Insteadman who is for no strongly apparent reason drawn deeper and deeper into the "pocket universe" of a New York City—specifically, the Upper East Side—that is as random, antic and oddl...

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The Wall Street Journal

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New York as a "pocket universe," with sweet, unstable misfits and occasional quests for meaning.

Oct 14 2009 | Read Full Review of Chronic City (Vintage Contemp...

AV Club

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Former child actor Chase Insteadman, the hero of Jonathan Lethem’s ninth novel, Chronic City, describes himself as Ralph Bellamy in a Cary Grant movie.

Oct 15 2009 | Read Full Review of Chronic City (Vintage Contemp...

The Independent

Tooth and his rag-bag of friends - squatter-turned-mayoral adviser Richard Abneg and his rich girlfriend Georgina, Chase's new romantic interest Oona, the local tramp and a drug dealer - flip between actual New York, fictionalised New York and virtual New York, played on in the second half of the...

Jan 03 2010 | Read Full Review of Chronic City (Vintage Contemp...

The Telegraph

‘Paranoia,” says Perkus Tooth, the hero of Jonathan Lethem’s eighth novel, “is a flower in the brain”.

Jan 12 2010 | Read Full Review of Chronic City (Vintage Contemp...

Oregon Live

What happens in the ambitious "Chronic City" is this: A washed-up child actor named Chase Insteadman meets a bombed-out former cultural critic and provocateur named Perkus Tooth, and they spend hours hanging out in Perkus' Manhattan apartment, smoking pot, drinking, talking art and culture and ra...

Oct 24 2009 | Read Full Review of Chronic City (Vintage Contemp...

Denver Post

Chase is the perfect worrying foil for Perkus, who is a fully imagined and whacked out as the Russian mobster with Tourette's syndrome in "Motherless Brooklyn."

Oct 25 2009 | Read Full Review of Chronic City (Vintage Contemp...

Newsday

Long Island Mac Arthur Airport In Bohemia delayed until further notice on Vets Highway/Rt-454 WB between Trade Zone Rd and CR-112/Johnson Ave in Ronkonkoma 10 m ago Anticipate seasonal delays along Sunrise Highway/CR39/Montauk Hwy/Main Street in "the ha...

Oct 15 2009 | Read Full Review of Chronic City (Vintage Contemp...

Seattle PI

If on the other hand, the nature you'd like your mirrors focused on is never going to be all that clearly reflected because in the end it's complexities usually defy clarity, if you find that in simply trying to illustrate the inexplicable a novelist is doing the only thing he can, if you recogni...

Apr 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Chronic City (Vintage Contemp...

Cleveland.com

Sunday, October 18, 2009 he narrator of "Chronic City" is Chase Insteadman, a good-looking if somewhat bland fixture on Manhattan's Upper East Side social scene.

Oct 18 2009 | Read Full Review of Chronic City (Vintage Contemp...

Fantasy Literature

That isn’t to say Chronic City is derivative — it has the feel of those three writers’ work but Lethem has definitely made these elements his own — but the end result and overall effect feel lacking.

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Bookmarks Magazine

Jonathan Lethem, a 2005 recipient of the MacArthur Genius Award, is the author of nearly a dozen genre-bending novels and collections of short fiction, including As She Climbed Across the Table (1997);

Oct 11 2009 | Read Full Review of Chronic City (Vintage Contemp...

Fiction Writers Review

(Read on to find out how New York is akin to a “giant Ponzi scheme.”) Lethem is, after all, New York’s most notable exile.

Nov 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Chronic City (Vintage Contemp...

Straight.com

The freewheeling eighth novel by Brooklyn’s Jonathan Lethem takes place in an alternate-universe version of Manhattan, though the degree of its unreality is never clearly defined.

Jan 13 2010 | Read Full Review of Chronic City (Vintage Contemp...

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https://cityoftongues.com

Part of that purpose was self-interested: whether we eventually find a way to monetise online publishing or not, it’s quite clear not just that the future of writing lies online, but that the process of writing for the online space is different from the process of writing for the print publicatio...

May 07 2016 | Read Full Review of Chronic City (Vintage Contemp...

Reader Rating for Chronic City
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