Cover image for Feral detective : a novel / Jonathan Lethem.
Title:
Feral detective : a novel / Jonathan Lethem.
ISBN:
9780062859068
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Ecco /HarperCollins Publishers, 2018.

©2018
Physical Description:
326 pages ; 25 cm
Local Note:
Phoebe Siegler first meets Charles Heist in a shabby trailer on the eastern edge of Los Angeles. She's looking for her friends missing daughter, Arabella, and hires Heist to help. A laconic loner who keeps his pet opossum in a desk drawer, Heist intrigues the sarcastic and garrulous Phoebe. Reluctantly, he agrees to help. The unlikely pair navigate the enclaves of desert-dwelling vagabonds and find that Arabella is in serious trouble caught in the middle of a violent standoff that only Heist, mysteriously, can end. Phoebe's trip to the desert was always going to be strange, but it was never supposed to be dangerous. . . .
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Summary

Summary

Jonathan Lethem's first detective novel since Motherless Brooklyn

"One of America's greatest storytellers." --Washington Post

Phoebe Siegler first meets Charles Heist in a shabby trailer on the eastern edge of Los Angeles. She's looking for her friend's missing daughter, Arabella, and hires Heist to help. A laconic loner who keeps his pet opossum in a desk drawer, Heist intrigues the sarcastic and garrulous Phoebe. Reluctantly, he agrees to help. The unlikely pair navigate the enclaves of desert-dwelling vagabonds and find that Arabella is in serious trouble--caught in the middle of a violent standoff that only Heist, mysteriously, can end. Phoebe's trip to the desert was always going to be strange, but it was never supposed to be dangerous. . . .

Jonathan Lethem's first detective novel since Motherless Brooklyn, The Feral Detective is a singular achievement by one of our greatest writers.


Author Notes

Jonathan Lethem was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 19, 1964. His first novel, Gun, with Occasional Music was published in 1994. His other works include As She Climbed across the Table (1997), Amnesia Moon (1995), The Fortress of Solitude (2003), You Don't Love Me Yet (2007), Chronic City (2009), and Dissident Gardens (2013). He won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Motherless Brooklyn (1999). He also writes short stories, comics and essays. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Rolling Stone, Esquire, The New York Times, The Paris Review, McSweeney's and other periodicals and anthologies.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Lethem hits a wall in his forgettable latest (following A Gambler's Anatomy). Phoebe Siegler, a consummate New Yorker, travels to the Mojave Desert in search of Arabella, a friend's missing daughter and an 18-year-old dropout of Reed College. She hires hirsute Charles Heist, the "feral detective," who lives with three dogs and an opossum. Quickly falling for his woodsy charms, Phoebe travels with Heist to the far reaches of the desert, where the mostly female Rabbit group is engaged in a long standoff with the male Bear group. To save Arabella, Heist will have to do battle with the charismatic Bear leader, called Solitary Love, as Phoebe learns to question her assumptions here on "the far side of the Neoliberal Dream." The novel feels like it was written as a kind of therapy in the aftermath of the 2016 election-which Lethem's characters frequently bring up-as well as the death of Leonard Cohen, who also gets a lot of ink. None of this can salvage the book, which features howling men and howling bad prose (during a sex scene, Phoebe longs for Heist to "uncrimp my foil"), making this tone-deaf Raymond Chandler pastiche an experiment worth avoiding. (Nov.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


New York Review of Books Review

THE JEWISH AMERICAN PARADOX: Embracing Choice in a Changing World, by Robert Mnookin. (PublicAffairs, $28.) Mnookin, a Harvard law professor, delivers a methodical, legal brief of a book arguing that for American Judaism to survive it will need to become much more inclusive. THE CHOSEN WARS: How Judaism Became an American Religion, by Steven R. Weisman. (Simon & Schuster, $30.) American Judaism underwent a radical shift in the 19th century, adapting its rituals and its theology alike for an open, modern society. Weisman offers a thorough and fascinating history of these decades, which gave birth to the liberal branches of Judaism and allowed Jews to feel at home and thrive in America. NEWCOMER, by Keigo Higashino. Translated by Giles Murray. (Minotaur, $27.99.) A hyper-observant Tokyo detective solves a vexing puzzle: Who killed a lady who lived alone and had no enemies? HEAVY: An American Memoir, by Kiese Laymon. (Scribner, $26.) This searching account of a 1980s Mississippi boyhood is addressed to the author's mother, a brilliant, demanding and volatile single parent. Laymon candidly probes racism, obesity and sexual violence, but what lingers is his complex portrait of maternal love. THE FERAL DETECTIVE, by Jonathan Lethem. (Ecco/ HarperCollins, $26.99.) A young woman unmoored by the 2016 election embarks on a bizarre adventure in the California desert involving rival gangs, a missing teenager and the feral detective of the title, a private eye with Brillo sideburns. CHURCHILL: Walking With Destiny, by Andrew Roberts. (Viking, $40.) Churchill's extraordinary life was filled with triumph and disaster, adulation and contempt; the task for any historian is to strike a proper balance. Roberts's expansive narrative includes all the necessary details about the man he calls an indispensable figure. It is the best single-volume biography yet written. ACCESSORY TO WAR: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military, by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Avis Lang. (Norton, $30.) Tyson, the celebrity astrophysicist, has co-written a serious and thought-provoking book about how the imperatives of war have pushed space exploration forward over the centuries. BEST OF ENEMIES: The Last Great Spy Story of the Cold War, by Gus Russo and Eric Dezenhall. (Twelve, $28.) A C.I.A. agent forms an unlikely friendship with his counterpart in the K.G.B., putting both men in danger. SCRIBE, by Alyson Hagy. (Graywolf, paper, $16.) Set in the wilds of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains in a future America ravaged by civil war, this incantatory novel draws on Appalachian folk tales to fashion a sensuous allegory about the power of storytelling. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web: nytimes.com/books