Katie's Reviews > Motherless Brooklyn

Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
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's review
May 08, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: book-club, good-writing, crime, new-york, mystery

REALLY liked this book. I'm not really a mystery/thriller reader, so I was a little concerned when I read that Motherless Brooklyn told the story of an unofficial P.I. with Tourette's who investigates the murder of his boss, a small-time mobster's, but I was blown away: I loved Lethem's writing---it's funny and clever---and the book isn't really about the crime---it's about our Tourettic (is that a word?) protagonist, Lionel Essrog, and his interaction with the world. You laugh Essrog's tics when they're inconsequential, but Lethem's writing teems with suspense and forces you to empathize with Essrog's frustration and embarrassment over his uncontrollable tics.

What a challenge Lethem took on...writing a character with Tourette's---and including dialogue---could quickly become more than disastrous: It could have easily slipped into the rude and offensive category, but Lethem is clearly skilled enough to execute the task perfectly. Very impressive...one of the most interesting books I've read lately.


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