Motherless Brooklyn

Motherless Brooklyn

Book - 2000
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Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.

A compelling and complusively readable riff on the classic detective novel from America's most inventive novelist.

Brooklyn's very own self-appointed Human Freakshow, Lionel Essrog is an orphan whose Tourettic impulses drive him to bark, count, and rip apart our language in startling and original ways. Together with three veterans of the St. Vincent's Home for Boys, he works for small-time mobster Frank Minna's limo service cum detective agency. Life without Frank Minna, the charismatic King of Brooklyn, would be unimaginable, so who cares if the tasks he sets them are, well, not exactly legal. But when Frank is fatally stabbed, one of Lionel's colleagues lands in jail, the other two vie for his position, and the victim's widow skips town. Lionel's world is suddenly topsy-turvy, and this outcast who has trouble even conversing attempts to untangle the threads of the case while trying to keep the words straight in his head. Motherless Brooklyn is a brilliantly original, captivating homage to the classic detective novel by one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation.

A New York Times Notable Book.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Vintage books, 2000, c1999
Edition: 1st Vintage contemporaries ed
ISBN: 9780375724831
Branch Call Number: LETHEM J
PS3562.E8544 M68 2000x
Characteristics: 311 p. ; 21 cm


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PickyReader May 08, 2014

Wonderful narration, very off-beat version of noir for folks who don't usually like that genre: flawed detective/hero, mysterious woman, innocent woman, dark criminal masters, semi-criminal/semi-innocent associates of hero, 'realistic' ending. All with a plot and voice that twist it around so you don't realize it's there, beneath the wonderfully jumpy surface of this fabulous tale. A read and a half.

Apr 19, 2014

This book is simply fabulous. It chronicles the lives of some good ol' boy gumshoes exploring the world in all it's post-coming-of-age dreariness. Lethem is always a fantastic wordsmith, but his writing is at its best here.

Aug 14, 2012

This is one of my favorite Lethem books. Very interesting characters and storyline. Well worth the time investment!

lilylibrarian Mar 28, 2012

Four teenaged orphans are recruited by mafioso-wannabe Frank Minna and molded into devoted "Minna Men." When Frank is killed during one of the Men's assignments, the piper must be paid. Did I mention the narrator has Tourette's Syndrome?

jplynch25 Apr 19, 2011

Surprising, interesting peculiarly arresting.


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