In his twelfth novel, Jonathan Lethem returns to speculative fiction to inform a provocative tale of an isolated Maine peninsula after an apocalypse.
In this particular apocalypse, called “the Arrest,” some mysterious procedure has incrementally disabled the global’s deliver of gasoline, pixels and gunpowder. There’s no TV, no internet, no inner combustion engines, no firearms. This is a assignment for all the citizens at the peninsula, however it is especially tough for Alexander “Sandy” Duplessis, known as Journeyman, who as soon as had a a hit profession as a Hollywood script doctor but now works as a butcher’s assistant and a bicycle deliveryman, pedaling in the shadow of his more youthful sister, Maddy, a local communal farmer.
The peninsula’s isolation is enforced by using a surly institution of tribute-annoying bullies called the Cordon. Are they preserving outsiders out or insiders in? Is there life, civilization or, higher yet, strength beyond their barricades? Busting beyond the Cordon comes Peter Todbaum in his nuclear-powered vehicle called the Blue Streak. Peter is Journeyman’s former Yale roommate and movie-making collaborator, and he arrives hoping to rekindle his estranged relationships with Journeyman and Maddy in addition to his lifelong film project, Yet Another World, a dystopian, apocalyptic love story. He comes bearing an limitless deliver of the rarest of rare—brewed coffee. He first enthralls after which alienates almost every person with his countless stories and fabrications.
And that is simply the beginning. Lethem is a beguiling and very smart writer. Told in short, breezy chapters, The Arrest vibrates with sharp, satiric observations and layers upon layers of strange, regularly funny mashups of popular 1970s and ’80s cease-of-the-global books and movies.
Ultimately, Lethem’s plot resolves itself, however in ways that do not fully satisfy. This is deliberate. As his enthusiasts know, Lethem often performs a deeper game. There are some answered and plenty of unanswered questions in The Arrest—so many that Lethem seems to be suggesting that even at the stop of days, the familiar shapes of memories are insufficient, and lifestyles itself gives fewer resolutions than we hope for.