HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Dissident Gardens by Jonathan Lethem
Loading...

Dissident Gardens (2013)

by Jonathan Lethem

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4472135,119 (3.5)25
  1. 00
    A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka (lobotomy42)
    lobotomy42: Both novels show how personal relationships between family members become infused with politics. The conflation of political differences with personal feuds, the overconfidence of leftists (or any ideologues) in their ultimate correctness, and political differences arising generationally are themes of both novels.… (more)
  2. 00
    A Short History of Women by Kate Walbert (lobotomy42)
    lobotomy42: Both novels share a similar format - the chronicle of a single family's history across the 20th Century, told through non-chronological vignettes from the point of view of specific individuals.
  3. 00
    Various Pets Alive and Dead by Marina Lewycka (lobotomy42)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 25 mentions

English (20)  Dutch (1)  All languages (21)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Dissident Gardens has all the heft of a five star endeavor, unfortunately some it stuck to the pan. I read two-thirds of it this weekend, one plagued with incessant rain and a certain personal suffering from seasonal allergies. While reading such I read The Believer article about Dave Chapelle which led me to think about Bert Williams and Lenny Bruce and David Allen's chat show delivery. I thought about this http://www.pbs.org/arguing/ and the legacy of baseball and racially motivated murder.

Jonathan Lethem knows his way around the American psyche. He is familiar with the pressure points and the genealogies. The novel depicts Rose, a Jewish activist, her daughter Miriam and a troika of their "family: Lenny, Cicero and Sergius. The novel ruminates, backtracks and waxes beautifully. Some elements wear better than others. There is a great deal to consider and to ponder. Greg's review works better, in my opinion. The neighborhoods and the experiences are more palpable.
( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
I've enjoyed Lethem's novels and essays in the past, and I enjoyed Dissident Gardens to a degree as well. However, at some points in the narrative, continuing to read felt like a slog, and the pieces felt disconnected. Despite this, I'm glad I continued, as the last 60 or so pages ended particularly strong. ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |
Call this a 3 and 1/2 star book.

Jonathan Lethem is a very talented writer and I've more or less enjoyed everything he's done. From absolutely brilliant (Fortress of Solitude, Chronic City), to very clever and stimulating (Motherless Brooklyn, As She Climbed Across the Table), to interesting genre experiments (Girl in Landscape, Gun With Occasional Music, Amnesia Moon), he's progressed by leaps and bounds, and covered much more diverse stylistic territory than most writers ever do.

His prose in Dissident Gardens is as good, if not better than, ever. His characters are fully fleshed, his setting vibrant. If the mid-20th century New York world of commie-pinko-jewish-lefty-hippy-bohemians is of interest to you at all, you will probably highly enjoy this. It paints a wonderful portrait of human interaction over three generations; framed by ideology, and colored in family blood.

It's episodic nature and lack of any big surprises kept it just shy of being a 4 star book for me. ( )
  Chamblyman | May 20, 2018 |
Call this a 3 and 1/2 star book.

Jonathan Lethem is a very talented writer and I've more or less enjoyed everything he's done. From absolutely brilliant (Fortress of Solitude, Chronic City), to very clever and stimulating (Motherless Brooklyn, As She Climbed Across the Table), to interesting genre experiments (Girl in Landscape, Gun With Occasional Music, Amnesia Moon), he's progressed by leaps and bounds, and covered much more diverse stylistic territory than most writers ever do.

His prose in Dissident Gardens is as good, if not better than, ever. His characters are fully fleshed, his setting vibrant. If the mid-20th century New York world of commie-pinko-jewish-lefty-hippy-bohemians is of interest to you at all, you will probably highly enjoy this. It paints a wonderful portrait of human interaction over three generations; framed by ideology, and colored in family blood.

It's episodic nature and lack of any big surprises kept it just shy of being a 4 star book for me. ( )
  Chamblyman | May 19, 2018 |
I loved one of Lethem's books. I liked a couple of others. So I was surprised to be so uninvolved with this one that, for the last third of the book, I just wished it would end. Either that or DO something: come together. make a point, resolve. .. But no, it just meandered to an ending that could as easily have been the end of one of the endless chapters as the end of a book. That said, Lethem is a beautiful writer. I can get lost in his sentences. I will be certain to keep him on my list of favorite authors and hope I won't be disappointed. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
These are smart, interesting people, and Lethem’s narrative bounces back and forth through time while keeping his characters smack in the center of the American century. Dissident Gardens is ironic and affectionate at the same time; Lethem skewers everything in sight, but keeps the good heart beating.
added by KelMunger | editLit/Rant, Kel Munger (Oct 17, 2013)
 
The book seems to ask: Is there ever an unselfish revolutionary? Dazzled by their own heroic egos, these characters don’t see they are but small players in a larger game called history. Lethem records their moves — sometimes lucky, often nearsighted and inevitably falling short — in a narrative that turns out to be almost realistic. I say almost because “Dissident Gardens” is, in the end, a genre-bender after all: a fairy tale retold through the looking glass. Cicero, an Alice in disguise, is led by Rose the Red Queen to a successful coronation. “But how can you talk with a person if they always say the same thing?” Queen Alice asks in Lewis Carroll’s classic. King Cicero doesn’t ask, because he doesn’t expect people on either side of any disagreement to have anything new to say. Is that a pessimistic view of America, where the real conversation — about race, about class, about the country and its politics — remains to be held?
added by ozzer | editNew York Times, YIYUN LI (Sep 5, 2013)
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lethem, Jonathanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Collica, MichaelDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Faint, GrantCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wiseman, BenCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Information from the Russian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Epigraph
Dedication
For my father at eighty
First words
Quit fucking black cops or get booted from the Communist Party. There stood the ultimatum, the absurd sum total of the message conveyed to Rose Zimmer by the cabal gathered in her Sunnyside Gardens kitchen that evening. Late fall, 1955.
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

"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 and mercurial tyrant who terrorizes her neighborhood and her family with the ferocity of her personality and the absolutism of her beliefs. Her brilliant and willful daughter, Miriam, is equally passionate in her activism, but flees Rose's suffocating influence and embraces the Age of Aquarius counterculture of Greenwich Village. Both women cast spells that entrance or enchain the men in their lives: Rose's aristocratic German Jewish husband, Albert; her nephew, 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. These flawed, idealistic people all struggle to follow their own utopian dreams 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. Brilliantly constructed as it weaves across time and among characters, Dissident Gardens is riotous and haunting, satiric and sympathetic--and a joy to read"--… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.5)
0.5
1 2
1.5 2
2 5
2.5 4
3 25
3.5 8
4 20
4.5 8
5 10

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 134,916,904 books! | Top bar: Always visible