Authors | Jonathan Lethem

Jonathan Lethem United States of America    PWF 2020

Jonathan A. Lethem


“Context is everything. Dress me up and see. I’m a carnival barker, an auctioneer, a downtown performance artist, a speaker in tongues.”


Jonathan Lethem, novelist, essayist, short story writer, was born in 1964 in Brooklyn, New York. His bohemian childhood collided with the times, granting an encyclopedic knowledge of the music of Dylan, James Brown, the Talking Heads, and the science fiction of Philip K. Dick who was “as formative an influence as marijuana or punk rock—as equally responsible for fucking up my life—bending it irreversibly along a course I still travel.”


Jonathan Lethem talks to us directly—as his traumatized, Trump-era patients, “wanting the cities that we love to be destroyed to prove that nobody except ourselves could love them as they ought to be loved.”


For Lethem turn up the volume reading: Gun, with Occasional Music, Amnesia Moon, As She Climbed Across the Table, Motherless Brooklyn, The Fortress of Solitude, Chronic City, Dissident Gardens, Fear of Music, The Feral Detective, and The Arrest.


Jonathan Lethem resides in Claremont, California.



Jonathan Lethem: Right Above Hope


We have asked the authors invited to this year's Prague Writers' Festival what Hope means to them. Jonthan Lethem, known for his novels Motherless Brooklyn (1999), The Fortress of Solitude (2003) or The Feral Detective (2018), has sent us a text that could very well be a part of a larger fiction. With its music references and brisk pace, it is quintessential Lethem. Music is an obssesion for him – he has writen fantastic pieces on Bob Dylan or James Brown for The Rolling Stone Magazine and there was a time he wanted to „replace his head“ with Talking Heads album Fear of Music. In this story, he just sits his protagonists in a bar and plays them a song, the rest, or so it seems, happens by itself. 

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