"I think [Fear of Music] describes a tone of an intimate, neurotic — but seductive — paranoid personality that I think I probably quite shamelessly hoped that some of my earliest fiction would sound like. I think I was really eager to make fiction that would strike people as mysterious and funny and slightly spooky that was much like the way that I felt about Fear of Music."

Lethem's latest novel, Chronic City, was a surreal story about an actor, a rock critic resembling Lester Bangs, and an astronaut trapped in space. For Lethem, it marked a return to Fear of Music-inspired spookiness. "I came around to it again. I think of it as a very silly book on one surface, and I know some people find it impossibly shallow. The characters' lives seem so dippy! But I think behind that is a giant well of depression and dread."

But however complicated Lethem's relationship with Fear of Music, at least he can still listen to it. "Now that I've written the book, I feel like my relationship with it has this wonderful quality of being resolved and very sweet," he said. "It's like I've earned the right to just enjoy it again."

JONATHAN LETHEM READS AT WATCH CITY BREWING CO., 256 MOODY ST, WALTHAM, ON JUNE 6 AT 7 PM, WITH MUSIC FROM WINTERPILLS | 781.647.4000 OR GO TO WATCHCITYBREW.COM

TALKING HEADS' FEAR OF MUSIC | BY JONATHAN LETHEM | CONTINUUM | 160 PAGES | $12.95

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  | 
  Topics: Books , Music, Books, Arts,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY EUGENIA WILLIAMSON
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   IS BOSTON RIGHT FOR WRITERS?  |  March 05, 2013
    Boston, the birthplace of American literature, boasts three MFA programs, an independent creative-writing center, and more than a dozen colleges offering creative-writing classes.
  •   INCREMENTALLY MORE KIND: GEORGE SAUNDERS CHANGES THE WORLD  |  March 05, 2013
    George Saunders: satirist, humanist, and — after 20 years, four magisterial short story collections, a novella, and a book of essays — now a bestselling author.
  •   INTERVIEW: THE PASSION OF MIKE DAISEY  |  February 14, 2013
    Last January, storyteller Mike Daisey achieved a level of celebrity rarely attained among the off-Broadway set when the public radio program This American Life aired portions of his monologue The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs .
  •   GETTING BOOKED: WINTER READS  |  December 21, 2012
    Who cares about the fiscal cliff when we'll have authors talking about Scientology, the space-time continuum, and Joy Division?
  •   BRILLIANT FRIENDS: GREAT READS OF 2012  |  December 17, 2012
    You already know Chis Ware's Building Stories is the achievement of the decade (thanks, New York Times!), but some other people wrote some pretty great books this year too.

 See all articles by: EUGENIA WILLIAMSON