Those of you who enjoyed Lethem's contribution to The Book of Other People – as we most certainly did here at Copacetic – will be pleased to discover that it was an excerpt from this novel, about which David Shields has to say: "I'm reminded of the well-rubbed Kafka line: A book must be the axe to break the frozen sea within us. Lethem's book, with incredible fury, aspires to do little less. It's almost certainly his best novel. It's genuinely great." How about them apples! IMPORT SPECIAL
Twenty years on, Lethem is unique among contemporary novelists in continuing to bring the full force of both his critical acumen and his phosphorescent prose stylings to bear on a wide breadth of subjects that other writers often ignore – despite his having achieved the Empyrean heights of world class critical renown signified by a MacArthur prize. Lethem remains ever true to his roots, and is the champion of the importance and lasting value of an intelligent American popular culture rooted in arts and literatures of all stripes, including comics and science fiction (foremost among which might be his devotion to Philip K. Dick; see immediately above), movies and music, novels and paintings, and more. The Ecstasy of Influence is the collection of these writings that we've all been waiting for. Seventy-nine engaging pieces of sterling prose – consisting of a mix of long form essays and short form reviews, as well as pieces that fall somewhere between – celebrating culture and the individual's identity-forming interactions with it that will leave every one of its readers wiser and more self-aware.