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Dissident Gardens
JONATHAN LETHEM

Dissident Gardens by Jonathan Lethem
157 reviews (2013) (384p)
New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2013 #1

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Book Description
A dazzling novel from one of our finest writers—an epic yet intimate family saga about three generations of all-American radicals

At the center of Jonathan Lethem’s superb new novel stand two extraordinary women: Rose Zimmer, the aptly nicknamed Red Queen of Sunnyside, Queens, is an unreconstructed Communist who savages neighbors, family, and political comrades with the ferocity of her personality and the absolutism of her beliefs. Her precocious and willful daughter, Miriam, equally passionate in her activism, flees Rose’s influence to embrace the dawning counterculture of Greenwich Village.
     These women cast spells over the men in their lives: Rose’s aristocratic German Jewish husband, Albert; her cousin, the feckless chess hustler Lenny Angrush; Cicero Lookins, the brilliant son of her black cop lover; Miriam’s (slightly fraudulent) Irish folksinging husband, Tommy Gogan; their bewildered son, Sergius. Flawed and idealistic, Lethem’s characters struggle to inhabit the utopian dream in an America where radicalism is viewed with bemusement, hostility, or indifference.
     As the decades pass—from the parlor communism of the ’30s, McCarthyism, the civil rights movement, ragged ’70s communes, the romanticization of the Sandinistas, up to the Occupy movement of the moment—we come to understand through Lethem’s extraordinarily vivid storytelling that the personal may be political, but the political, even more so, is personal.
     Lethem’s characters may pursue their fates within History with a capital H, but his novel is—at its mesmerizing, beating heart—about love.


Other Award Winning Books by Jonathan Lethem
A Gambler's Anatomy by Jonathan Lethem
48 reviews (2016) (304p) (NYT100) () () ()
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THE ECSTASY OF INFLUENCE: Nonfictions, Etc by Jonathan Lethem
10 reviews (2011) (p) (NYT100)
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Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem
96 reviews (2009) (528p) (NYTimes)
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The Disappointment Artist by Jonathan Lethem
16 reviews (2005) (160p) (Amazon)
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The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
151 reviews (2003) (528p) (NYTimes) (TIME) (Amazon) (ALA)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page
Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
310 reviews (1999) (336p) (NBCCA) (ALA)
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Jonathan Lethem Award Stats
Major Prize* Nominations 3  
Unique Books Nominated for a Major Prize* 2  
Pulitzer Prize Wins 0  
Pulitzer Prize Nominations 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Wins 1 Motherless Brooklyn ·  
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominations 1 Motherless Brooklyn ·  
National Book Award Wins 0  
National Book Award Nominations 0  
Man Booker Prize Wins 0  
Man Booker Prize Nominations 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Wins 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Nominations 0  

*Major Prize = Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, and PEN/Faulkner Award

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Pulitzer Prize | National Book Critics Circle Award | National Book Award | PEN/Faulkner Award | Man Booker Prize | Contact