Thursday, August 21, 2014

Saturday Samplers Book Group to Discuss "Motherless Brooklyn"

Bernardsville Library’s book group, Saturday Samplers, will meet Saturday, September 6 at 3:30 pm to discuss “Motherless Brooklyn” (1999) by Jonathan Lethem.  [The author will not be present.]

Mr. Lethem is an American novelist, essayist and short story writer. He was born in Brooklyn, NY and went to Bennington College. His first novel, "Gun, with Occasional Music," a genre work that mixed elements of science fiction and detective fiction, was published in 1994. "Motherless Brooklyn," published in 1999, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, The Macallan Gold Dagger for crime fiction, and the Salon Book Award; it was named book of the year by Esquire whose reviewer described it as "The best novel of the year… Utterly original and deeply moving." In 2003, Lethem published "The Fortress of Solitude," which became a New York Times Best Seller. In 2005, he received a MacArthur Fellowship.

"Motherless Brooklyn" is a return for the author to the detective theme. The book's protagonist, Lionel Essrog, is an orphan whose Tourette's syndrome drives him to bark, count, and rip apart the English 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. When Frank is fatally stabbed, 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.
Led by Program/PR Assistant Evelyn Fischel, Saturday Samplers is a book discussion group dedicated to sampling various kinds of literature, including short stories, nonfiction, new and old novels, and even teen fiction. Its goal is to search out interesting, noteworthy, and sometimes overlooked books. Readers can find information about the group and about the books and authors on the reading list at No sign-up is needed to join the discussion. Call the library at 766-0118 for more information.

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