Motherless Brooklyn Author:Jonathan Lethem From America's most inventive novelist, Jonathan Lethem, comes this compelling and compulsive riff on the classic detective novel. — Lionel Essrog is Brooklyn's very own self-appointed Human Freakshow, an orphan whose Tourettic impulses drive him to bark, count, and rip apart our language in startling and original ways. Together with t... more »hree veterans of the St. Vincent's Home for Boys, he works for small-time mobster Frank Minna's limo service cum detective agency. Life without Frank Minna, the charismatic King of Brooklyn, would be unimaginable, so who cares if the tasks he sets them are, well, not exactly legal. But when Frank is fatally stabbed, one of Lionel's colleagues lands in jail, the other two vie for his position, and the victim's widow skips town. Lionel's world is suddenly topsy-turvy, and this outcast who has trouble even conversing attempts to untangle the threads of the case while trying to keep the words straight in his head. Motherless Brooklyn is a brilliantly original homage to the classic detective novel by one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation.« less
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An absolutely pitch-perfect post-modern noir. Letham's prose is deeply fractured Brooklyn suffused neo-Chandlerian genius. Great writing, great characters, great set pieces. It's a new classic, a New York masterpiece.
I can't believe this isn't a movie, or a TV series, or at least hasn't spawned a series of books. *googles Lionel Essrog* Oh.
Still, because Lethem is a serious writer, I guess we won't get sequels. I would have loved Lionel Essrog and the Case of the Secret Sliding Door, or Lionel Essrog and the Cannibal Who Liked Cannabis. Why? Because the main character is one for the ages. He's a Tourettes sufferer, flunky for a smalltime operator, now thrust into the role of detective. It's wonderful. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the creator of Monk was influenced by this book.
OK, so read the book before the movie comes out! This book is great!
Jonathan Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn is an ingenious mix of hardboiled fiction and the literary novel. Lionel Essog's world is turned upside down as his boss Frank Minna is fatally stabbed. Part father figure, part small time Brooklyn mobster, Frank took up Lionel and three other boys from the St. Vincent's Home for Boys to become Minna Men, foot soldiers in his detective agency cum car service. This whodunit story which so captures the essence of New York, especially now-gentrifying parts of Brooklyn, is greatly enhanced by Lionel's Tourettic outbursts. Marvels of wordplay, they add character to Lionel's already insightful narration during his investigation. Lethem excels in plot, characterization, and language—the only detail I take issue with is that White Castle burgers come in cardboard boxes, not wrappers.
A really well-done mystery, featuring a protagonist with Tourette's Syndrome. Lionel is an orphan, but when he and 3 other boys are picked at an orphanage to help out a man named Frank Minna, doing odd jobs, his life is changed... Minna's a small-time mobster, but he becomes a father figure to the naive Lionel. And when, years later, Minna is murdered, it's Lionel's unexpected persistence that will lead him to solve the crime - but also lead him into danger from more sides that he even knows of...
The book is really believable - surprisingly so, for one featuring the Mob, a shady Japanese corporation, and a mysterious Zen school... all ties in with violent crime... and it really gives one insight into the inner life of someone suffering from this ailment.
Motherless Brooklyn was heartbreaking. Lethem has an unbelievable grasp of language and dialogue. You feel for the protagonist as a human being, as a person who has real feelings and thoughts and, as someone who has a clear idea in his head of exactly what he must do. Lethem is an amazing writer and every one of his books is worth reading.
A detective story narrated by an amateur gumshoe with Tourette's Syndrome, given to bouts of ingenious vocal tics. I found this novel hilarious and touching. And I continue to muse how everyone has a bit of Tourette's.
A mobster type befriends four orphans and uses them for various things over the years. The main character has Tourettes, and when his mentor is murdered he is determined to find the guilty party. The book focused a little too much on his Tourettes, although it did lend a lot of humor to situations. Still, he was kind of pathetic also. I can only give this one an meh.. Probably forget all about it in six months.
I'm a heavy listener of audiobooks. When pushed to declare one "the best", Frank Muller's narration of this book would be "it". He captures Lionel's frantic Tourette's-driven pace perfectly! That having been said, others who've read the print version report they loved the story, too. Highly recommended, with slight disclaimer that it starts off slowly with background info.