Motherless Brooklyn Author:Jonathan Lethem, Frank Muller From America's most inventive novelist, Jonathan Lethem, comes this compelling and compulsive riff on the classic detective novel.Lionel Essrog is Brooklyn's very own Human Freakshow, an orphan whose Tourettic impulses drive him to bark, count, and rip apart language in startling and original ways. Together with three veterans of the St. Vincent... more »'s Home for Boys, he works for small-time mobster Frank Minna's limo service cum detective agency. Life without Frank, the charismatic King of Brooklyn, would be unimaginable. When Frank is fatally stabbed, Lionel's world is suddenly turned upside-down, and this outcast who has trouble even conversing attempts to untangle the threads of the case, while trying to keep the words straight in his head. A compulsively involving a and totally captivating homage to the classic detective tale.Performed by Steve Buscemi« less
An absolutely pitch-perfect post-modern noir. Letham's prose is deeply fractured Brooklyn suffused neo-Chandlerian genius. Great writing, great characters, great set pieces. It's a new classic, a New York masterpiece.
I can't believe this isn't a movie, or a TV series, or at least hasn't spawned a series of books. *googles Lionel Essrog* Oh.
Still, because Lethem is a serious writer, I guess we won't get sequels. I would have loved Lionel Essrog and the Case of the Secret Sliding Door, or Lionel Essrog and the Cannibal Who Liked Cannabis. Why? Because the main character is one for the ages. He's a Tourettes sufferer, flunky for a smalltime operator, now thrust into the role of detective. It's wonderful. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the creator of Monk was influenced by this book.
OK, so read the book before the movie comes out! This book is great!
A really well-done mystery, featuring a protagonist with Tourette's Syndrome. Lionel is an orphan, but when he and 3 other boys are picked at an orphanage to help out a man named Frank Minna, doing odd jobs, his life is changed... Minna's a small-time mobster, but he becomes a father figure to the naive Lionel. And when, years later, Minna is murdered, it's Lionel's unexpected persistence that will lead him to solve the crime - but also lead him into danger from more sides that he even knows of...
The book is really believable - surprisingly so, for one featuring the Mob, a shady Japanese corporation, and a mysterious Zen school... all ties in with violent crime... and it really gives one insight into the inner life of someone suffering from this ailment.
Motherless Brooklyn was heartbreaking. Lethem has an unbelievable grasp of language and dialogue. You feel for the protagonist as a human being, as a person who has real feelings and thoughts and, as someone who has a clear idea in his head of exactly what he must do. Lethem is an amazing writer and every one of his books is worth reading.
I love this book. There are few books that I will read over and over and fewer movies that I will watch after the first screening. I am all about story and this one -- the tale of a "private detective" (mobster) with Tourette's syndrome who has to solve what happened to his boss/caretaker is a great one! But many readers rightly praise what Lethem does with language. As a writer, that is just the icing on the cake for me. You have to read this -- even if you don't like detective stories. I can't gush enough about it.
I'm a heavy listener of audiobooks. When pushed to declare one "the best", Frank Muller's narration of this book would be "it". He captures Lionel's frantic Tourette's-driven pace perfectly! That having been said, others who've read the print version report they loved the story, too. Highly recommended, with slight disclaimer that it starts off slowly with background info.