Jonathan Lethem’s latest novel Dissident Gardens at first appears more grounded than his other works, trading supernatural elements for a more realist view of the world. But in Part 2 of his interview with Slate’s Jacob Weisberg, Lethem says to look closer. In his unflinching—some would say scathing—narrative about the American left, he says the relentless pull of ideology is just as fantastical as the magic ring in Fortress of Solitude.
Lethem also pushes back on critical notices that argue the book’s more realist tone is indicative of the writer himself growing up, amusingly calling those suggestions “psychobiographical projection.”
In Part 1 of the interview, Lethem cautions readers from interpreting Dissident Gardens as an assault on American leftists. Later this week, two more segments will tackle Lethem’s famous writing on the Talking Heads and his newfound role as a teacher.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.