This volume sheds light on an array of topics from sex in cinema to drugs, graffiti, Bob Dylan, cyberculture, 9/11, book touring and Marlon Brando. Then there are investigations of a shelf's worth of Jonathan Letham's literary models and contemporaries: Norman Mailer, Philip K. Dick, Bret Easton Ellis, James Wood, and others. And, writing about Brooklyn, his father, and his sojourn through two decades of writing, one of the greats of contemporary American literature sheds an equally strong light on himself. In "The Ecstasy of Influence", Jonathan Lethem, tangling with what he calls the 'white elephant' role of the writer as public intellectual, arrives at an astonishing range of answers. Funny and unfettered, "The Ecstasy of Influence" simmers with direct challenges to conventional wisdom and deep insights into the kaleidoscopic nature of artistic vision, the primacy of the writer in the cultural marketplace, and the way the author's own experiences have fuelled his creative passions.
A career-spanning collection of writings - essays, memoir, liner notes, fiction and commentary - from one of the greats of contemporary American literature.
A high-wire juggling act where all the balls are kept spinning perfectly Irish Independent The pleasure for readers is twofold: on one hand, there is the intrinsic interest in the subjects...On the other, there's the fact that this is Lethem telling us these things, and how it gives an insight into his own creative practice Guardian A collage of what makes Lethem tick Monocle Thoughtful and rambunctious ... a jazzy, patchwork memoir ... [a] fresh, erudite, zestful, funny frolic in the great fields of creativity Booklist Hefty and remarkable... These byways, all of which make room for eccentric flights as well as proper essays, augment the charm and impact of what Lethem prefers to call an autobiographical collage The New York Times Book Review
Jonathan Lethem is the New York Times-bestselling author of eight novels, including Chronic City, The Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn. A recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, Lethem has also published his stories and essays in the New Yorker, Harper's, Rolling Stone, Esquire and the New York Times, among others.