Reading guide for Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Chronic City

by Jonathan Lethem

Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2009, 480 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2010, 480 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. When do you think the action of the novel occurs? Is there a reason the time was left vague? Is this the "real" New York City?

  2. At what point did you begin to suspect that Chase Insteadman was living a fiction? At what point in their story do you think Perkus Tooth understood that Chase had been deceived about his role?

  3. Can you accept that Oona Laszlo is responsible for the letters attributed to Janice Trumbull? Is it possible, as a writer, to create another human being more generous, large-hearted, and responsive than yourself?

  4. What is the meaning of the wild animals that intrude on the lives of these Manhattanites -- the eagles, the tiger? Do they have anything to do with the weather?

  5. Have you ever felt that the place where you lived or grew up was being turned into a 'simulacrum' of itself?

  6. Have you ever tried to care for someone impossible? Are you now? Does Perkus Tooth remind you of anyone in your own life, or did you find Chase's decision to befriend him misguided?

  7. At different points in Chronic City Perkus Tooth seems to attempt to sustain himself completely on culture and language, then, alternately, to try to leave culture and language entirely behind and live a "pure" life. Do you think either approach is possible?

  8. The author's working title for Chronic City was "Manhattan". The Woody Allen film by that name was often criticized for depicting a Manhattan consisting only of the white upper middle class. Is Chronic City self-aware about the limitations of its characters? Does Chase Insteadman's response to the black kids he meets near the Urban Fjord, or to the black man in the jail cell imply another version of Manhattan creeping into view?

  9. What does the gray fog hide?

  10. Was Chase unfair to Oona? Should he give her another chance?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Vintage. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Castle of Water
    Castle of Water
    by Dane Huckelbridge
    When a whopping 24 out of 27 readers give a book 4 or 5 stars, you know you have a winner on your ...
  • Book Jacket: Havana
    Havana
    by Mark Kurlansky
    History with flavor...culture with spice...language with gusto...it would be hard to find a better ...
  • Book Jacket: Temporary People
    Temporary People
    by Deepak Unnikrishnan
    In this powerful and innovative collection of 28 short stories, Deepak Unnikrishnan presents a ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Stars Are Fire
    by Anita Shreve

    An exquisitely suspenseful novel about an extraordinary young woman tested by a catastrophic event.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    If We Were Villains
    by M. L. Rio

    An intelligent and captivating story of the enduring power and passion of words.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -