Jonathan Lethem

5 articles

Being James Brown

A profile.

When we're introduced, I spend a long moment trying to conjugate the reality of James Brown's face, one I've contemplated as an album-cover totem since I was thirteen or fourteen: that impossible slant of jaw and cheekbone, that Pop Art slash of teeth, the unmistakable rage of impatience lurking in the eyes. It's a face drawn by Jack Kirby or Milton Caniff, that's for sure, a visage engineered for maximum impact at great distances, from back rows of auditoriums.



Jonathan Lethem offers offbeat descriptions of various holidays, both real and imagined; Happy Thankstaking.

"The vacuum cleaner has replaced the cornucopia in most traditional Thankstaking ceremonies."


The Empty Room

Semi-surreal account of a family's new home.

"The empty room, being a tabula rasa, bore aspects of total corruptibility, a potential we’d in childish obedience overlooked until now."


The Ecstacy of Influence: A Plagiarism

Our debt, conscious or unconscious, to what has come before, and what it can tell us about copyright, the public domain, and the complicated relationship between creators and consumers.


A Kind of Vast Fiction

An email dialogue between David Gates and Jonathan Lethem on writing fiction in the age of online experiences.