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Goldstein's woeful, funny debut novel is a series of aphorism-capped vignettes, paced at the rate of approximately one scene per paragraph. As these snapshots flash past, protagonist Josh ages rapidly from child to onanistic teen to depressive adult, mourning the death of his mother and the loss of a series of vividly described girlfriends along the way. Throughout, descriptions of Josh's suburban-anytown Jewish upbringing and job at local fast-food franchise Burger Zoo, while peppered with scatological and Portnoy's Complaint-esque sordidly sexual details, often achieve a level of nuance that's poetic and almost profound. In the latter third of the book, Josh's preoccupation with a Hasidic neighbor and the "Rebbe's Kosher-style Love Lotion" that he begins to experiment with grow repetitive and confusing. But "This American Life" contributing editor Goldstein has a knack for imagery ("He was crying on the floor, pulling toilet paper off the spool with both hands like he was climbing a rope") and ear for hyper-realistic dialogue, making him a writer to watch. (Mar.)
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A neurotic antihero as funny and compelling as the ones Mordecai Richler and Phlip Roth used to dream up... -- Paul Tough, Open Letters
Lenny Bruce is Dead, by Jonathan Goldstein, is an experimental novel. We know that because there is almost as much white space as there is type. If it were condensed to normal space it would take up about 70 pages. Josh's mother died when he was a young man. He spends his time in disjointed reminiscences about his childhood and adolescence, his family, and his sexual experiences. It is a boring and frustrating reading experience. The scattered snippets of story are like notes for something more substantial. It reminds me of material I encountered in first year creative writing classes, written mainly by non-readers who lacked the ability to imagine a genuine story, so self-absorbed they were incapable of writing about anything but their own pathetic lives. They would then defend their self-indulgent twaddle as experimental though they had no idea of what a real novel of story was about. Pass this one by. --W.P. Kinsella (Books in Canada) -- Books in Canada
One wishes Lenny Bruce is Dead a long life. -- Kevin Chong, The National Post, April 21, 2001
This is an assured, completely original debut from a writer to be reckoned with... -- Kevin Connolly, eye, April 1, 2001
i came accross this book by accident without knowledge of goldstein's prior work. i can understand how some wouldn't appreciate the book, it is definitely an ubercontemporary work,... Read morePublished on Feb. 13 2006 by melody m.
I almost didn't read this book when I first picked it up. I was like, "'Lenny Bruce is Dead' well yeah, and the sky is blue, so what! Read morePublished on March 7 2002 by Mike Stumph