Jonathan Lethem On 'Lucky Alan,' Sea World And Sci-Fi

February 26, 2015 2:22 PM

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Jonathan Lethem On 'Lucky Alan,' Sea World And Sci-Fi

The protagonist of a story from Jonathan Lethem’s new collection, “Pending Vegan,” describes himself to readers as a pending vegan. In fact, he’s privately renamed himself Pending Vegan. He’s at Sea World with his kids, who are desperate to see an orca, yet internally anguished over the cruelty of the amusement park. He’s horrified by the barbarism of meat-eating, which is why he's chosen to become a vegan -- but not yet. He's still pending. But at least he cares, right?

Lethem’s taut, darkly funny new collection, Lucky Alan, excels at creating these moments of absurdity that exist not merely for their own sake, but on some level to expose our own tendency to accept the unacceptable, to live hypocritically, and to assuage our guilt with comforting words and superfic...

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