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Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Ecstasy of Influence

New from Jonathan Lethem: The Ecstasy of Influence: Nonfictions, etc. Compiled from previously published pieces and essays, The Ecstasy of Influence presents Lethem`s particular perspective on contemporary culture. There are such curious essays as ''Donald Sutherland`s Buttocks,'' ''Children with Hangovers,'' and ''Top Five Depressed Superheroes.'' I am especially interested in his writings on some of my favourite authors in ''The Best of Calvino: Against Completism'' and ''Bolano`s 2666.''

And if I may, here is an excerpt from the book that seems especially relevant to Librairie D+Q (darned you, book thieves!) of when Lethem used to work at a used bookstore:

''The description of the thieves went out -- seedy, eccentric, and gay -- and we clerks at the Solano Avenue put ourselves on high alert. Soon enough came the day when they were detected in the store, three of them, two men and a woman, idling in the back aisles. We quietly assembled a posse of four or five clerks and, buzzing on our own outrage and adrenaline, asked them to step into the back of our store. Caught, the thieves glumly unloaded six or seven coffee-table books from under jackets and inside satchels, an astounding and brazen volume of material. We confronted them stammeringly, made insensate with fury: How could anyone bohemian, anyone who valued books, force us clerks into the role of cops? Wasn`t that a breach of some bargain?'' (Lethem 9-10)

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