Jesse Jarnow

this shape we’re in

The slimness of Jonathan Lethem’s This Shape We’re In works to its considerable charm. Its 55 pages read as a quick immersion into Lethem’s almost literally cartoonish other-world. In the first sentence, before he can even establish a plot, Lethem creates a central tension: just what the hell is going on?

It began when Belkan came into our burrow during cocktail hour and told us he had been in the eye. Early and Lorna were sitting around sipping gin and tonics and watching me grill a hunk of proteinous rind which I’d marinated pretty nicely and was basting like a real pro and my immediate response was to tell Belkan to go to hell. Marianne offered him a drink and he took it with both hands like it was hot chocolate and went back to boasting about his extraordinary meaner and the culture of the forelimbs and the things he’d witnessed peering through the eye: the inky depths of interstellar space (his words: inky depths, interstellar space).

Why wouldn’t you keep reading (especially when it’s available for $5 at the McSweeney’s bookstore)?

1 Comment

  1. Randy Ray says: - reply

    That is UMA good. I’m surreally there. Thanks for the tip as my pile o’ lit joy had been full of physics/metaphysics/historical studies of late and I needed to return to works that dwell in the love of language–and gloriously weird and long paragraphs.