Jonathan Lethem is an American novelist, essayist and short story writer. His novels include The Fortress of Solitude, Motherless Brooklyn, and Chronic City. He teaches at Pomona College.
Fiction by Raymond Queneau
translated by Barbara Wright and Chris Clarke
with a contribution by Ben Marcus, Blake Butler, Amelia Gray, Jesse Ball, Harry Mathews, Lynne Tillman, Shane Jones, Jonathan Lethem, Enrique Vila-Matas and Frederic Tuten
On a crowded bus at midday, Raymond Queneau observes one man accusing another of jostling him deliberately. When a seat is vacated, the first man appropriates it. Later, in another part of town, Queneau sees the man being advised by a friend to sew a new button on his overcoat. Exercises in Style, Queneu’s experimental masterpiece and a hallmark book of the OULIPO literary group, retells this unexceptional tale in ninety-nine exceptional ways, employing writing styles such as the sonnet and the alexandrine, onomatopoeia and even Cockney.
A 65th Anniversary Edition includes twenty-five exercises by Queneau never before published in English translated by Chris Clarke, as well as new exercises by contemporary writers Jesse Ball, Blake Butler, Amelia Gray, Shane Jones, Jonathan Lethem, Ben Marcus, Harry Mathews, Lynne Tillman, Frederic Tuten, and Enrique Vila-Matas.
Fiction by Nathanael West
with a contribution by Jonathan Lethem
Miss Lonelyhearts — compared by Flannery O’Connor to Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying — is about a newspaper reporter assigned to write the agony column, but, caught up in a vision of suffering, he seeks a way out (through art, sex, religion), only to be rebuffed at every turn by his cynical editor Shrike. The Day of the Locust — considered by many to be the best novel ever written about Hollywood — is about Tod Hackett, who hopes for a career in set design only to discover the boredom and emptiness of Hollywood’s inhabitants. In the end, only blood will serve. The day of the locust is at hand...