So, Jonathan Lethem never writes a single novel when he can write three novels rolled into one, and Dissident Gardens is no exception…
Indeed, what Mr. Self excels in bringing out is the enduring if gentle dissonance potentially born of this encounter, how the world may all the while coax and corrode and twist its hidden suasions within us.
The stitched illustrations, more often abstract than mimetic, make up perhaps the most interesting part of The Fifty Year Sword. They intrude upon the page like the dire ganglia of some malign intelligence.
A spectre is haunting “Telegraph Avenue”—the spectre of, in Mr. Chabon’s own phrase, “uncool white people everywhere when they tried to be cool.”