Sunday, December 13, 2009

Salon: best fiction books of 2009's Laura Miller named her five best nonfiction books of 2009. One title on the list:
"Chronic City" by Jonathan Lethem

A great New York novel should aim for the universal by way of the parochial. The Manhattanites in Lethem's near-future/alternative-now metropolis experience all the crises and travails of 21st-century life in a slightly more concentrated form. (It takes a novelist of exceptional talent and nerve to make you believe that matters of moment can hang on the outcome of an eBay auction.) A former child star coasting on his fading fame, a brilliant but terminally eccentric rock critic, a sarcastic ghostwriter and an activist turned municipal bureaucrat stumble through a city riddled with unreliable rumors, insufficiently explained disasters, dilettante millionaires, imperious celebrities and other signs and wonders. What they -- what all of us -- yearn for in a world full of engineered appearances and emotions is the truly beautiful and the truly moving. Can they find it, and will they even recognize it when they do? On this you can count: "Chronic City" is the real thing.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue