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Gun, with Occasional Music (Harvest Book) Paperback – Bargain Price, September 1, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Lethem's future is one in which I would not want to visit, let alone live in. For private investigator Conrad Metcalf, this nightmare is the only world he knows. What's so bad about this author's horrific visions? In the world of tomorrow, society is quite different from the world we know. For one thing, animals (rabbits, sheep, kangaroos, and cats) now walk upright, speak, commit crimes, and work. It's all a part of what authorities call "evolving," and it isn't just about the animals. Human infants take part in the hijinks as well, since society decided that it takes too long for people to grow up. The result is "babyheads," infants that speak, smoke, and drink thanks to massive infusions of growth hormones. As if that's not enough to cause you screaming fits, and apparently many of the people in this brave new world feel like screaming about it, the authorities provide "make," a drug used to modify behavior.Read more ›
This bittersweet story would be too depressing to recommend to anyone were it not for the humor, which had me laughing out loud. Metcalf and the kangaroo are worth reading again and again, but with little jokes like Testafer "Here's a tip, Grover. You're supposed to go first-" "Shut up." Well, I'd tried to warn him" I was reading dectective fiction as good as Chandler, to whom the book is inscribed.
This is some of the best fiction I've ever read and I recommend it highly.
The "comic noir" angle seemed overplayed, and the "forced evolution" trick served no real purpose I could discern. All the audaciousness and bold experimentation we've come to expect from Lethem was here (in spades... Sam Spades) but unlike, say, "Girl In Landscape" or "The Wall of the Sky" in this book they just made it seem mannered and self-conscious.
Still a very entertaining read, and way beyond run-of-the-mill, but as someone who has written some of the most inventive current fiction, he has far outdone this book in later works.
As others have said, this book is excellent, and definitely worth the read (the style alone is worth the price of admission, even if you ultimately decide you didn't like the admittedly tough-to-favor story.) However, I feel compelled to interject that I thought its focus tended to waver. Most of the book was a detective novel; but there were several portions that abandoned that storyline entirely and just wandered off into worldbuilding. Indeed, this book would have been nearly the same if the often murkily-explained SF stuff had been removed entirely. (it took me a while to figure out exactly what a babyhead was, and I'm still unclear on why people thought it was a good idea to make so many of them.)
However, the SF portions of the story _do_ serve well to make the setting more bizarre, and separate from the real world--and that's what books are all about. I'd have just liked to see better integration between the setting and the plot.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Original concept, certain themes could have been explored furtherPublished 3 months ago by robert robinson
It's a decent noir, set in a dystopian future. For the first half of the book I was increasingly annoyed that the author wasn't really shedding light on his future society. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Thomas B. Boutell
I really enjoyed reading this. It's really funny in an extremely dark humor sort of way. It's fun, unusual and highly entertaining. Read morePublished 5 months ago by SuzieBlue
I really wanted to like this book because the cover and name are really great, I know, lame reason. There were some parts that the author could've skipped as they didn't add to the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Adam
Jonathan Lethem has become one of my new favorite authors over the past couple of years, beginning with his masterpiece "The Fortress of Solitude. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Trevor Seigler
This book is quite simply, terrible. It is an incomplete narrative which takes place in a dystopian world that leaves the reader asking "What's the point?". Read morePublished 13 months ago by M. Aurora
This novel has two VERY gruesome, VERY bloody murders. I don't like this -- I know it happens (one of the murders could have used Sharon Tate as a model) but I don't want to know... Read morePublished 14 months ago by S. J. Haye