“Gun, With Occasional Music” by Jonathan Lethem Review

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Gun, With Occasional Music

Author: Jonathan Lethem

Release Date: March 1994

This book was recommended to me as a read alike for Haruki Murakami. Through the first 3/4 of the book I didn’t see the similarities as this felt like a fast paced neo-noir more along the lines of Philip K Dick or even China Mieville. The setting is a future with evolved animals coexisting with drug dependent adults and intelligent permanent baby people where the murder of a doctor sets a private eye asking questions. Yet another wrinkle in this future are karma points that can be taken away from you arbitrarily by inquisitors (the only other people in the world permitted to ask questions). Once you run out of karma, it’s into a demolition man style freeze for a period of years.

The book takes all those crazy ideas and puts them behind a standard murder mystery and noir narrative (complete with 1940’s attitudes and cliches). It’s not until part two of the book that the rules change in a David Lynchian manner that I was reminded of Murakami’s effortless eery tone. Despite all of the cool ideas thrown against the wall, I was leaning toward giving this book a three until that rule change brought back my attention at the end.

4-star

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