Rita's Reviews > Gun, With Occasional Music

Gun, With Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem
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Nov 05, 11

bookshelves: genre-mystery, genre-slipstream

One-third Raymond Chandler, one-third biopunk, one third Disney on crack. I don't really know how else to explain it.

There's a Marlowe-esque protagonist and enough weird incidental shit like kangaroos with guns that you never get bored. The worldbuilding is a bit shallow, though. There's stuff like widespread, government-approved drug use and an underclass of talking "evolved" animals, all of which is meant to make a statement about corruption, social control, and personal agency, but because Lethem doesn't delve into the origins of his world or put it all together as a cohesive whole it ends up just being entertaining rather than any sort of sustained social commentary. That's okay: not every novel has to be weighty and literary. I'm going to give Lethem the benefit of the doubt and assume that he aimed to write a zany, entertaining novel that fused crime fiction and scifi and didn't take itself too seriously -- and so he did, and it was a lot of fun to read.
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