If Jonathan Lethem's novels were food they would pile the pounds on those who consume them, not from empty calories but from a rich feast of extravagant fare, like lobster in drawn butter or Eggs Benedict swimming in creamy hollandaise. It invariably takes me a long time to read his books because every page bursts with lush language. Lethem uses words and tosses reality around with awe-inspiring creativity. With the possible exception of Motherless Brooklyn (which I loved and re-read to savor the sheer sumptuousness of its prose) Chronic City is his best yet.
It would be easy to assume that former child star Chase Insteadman is the main character here just because he narrates the story. On the contrary, I think the protagonist is Manhattan, the eponymous Chronic City. Indeed, for all the narrative's purposes, nothing exists outside the island's perimeter. Not a single character utters...
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