Take a good look at Jonathan Lethem — this will be the last time you see one of Brooklyn’s most important authors as a resident of the borough.
Yes, earlier this summer, Lethem quietly took a teaching job in California.
So Friday night’s reading by the once and former “Bard of Boerum Hill” at the powerHouse Arena in DUMBO was a bit of a funeral.
Fans at the reading were appalled, offended, betrayed.
“Guess this means there won’t be any more books about New York,” said Amanda Rider, who said she’s read every one of the ink slinger’s doorstoppers, including the current novel, “Chronic City.”
“I can’t believe he’ll actually be gone,” she added.
Much of Lethem’s greatest fiction, especially “Fortress of Solitude,” was inspired by his own life and times in the heart of the borough. But the scribe defended taking the job as head of a prestigious creative writing department at Pomona College because his heart is still where it needs to be.
“You’d be surprised how many of my books — like ‘Fortress of Solitude’ — are written in exile, in Toronto or hotel lobbies in Germany,” Lethem told us. “But you’d have to give me a restraining order to keep me out of Brooklyn.”
He said that his favorite Kings-sized memories are “too many to list,” but he’s created a few on his own. Who could forget his marathon reading of “Chronic City” at BookCourt last year, when he partied and read until 4 am with 13 devoted fans?
That said, Lethem seemed earnest in his promise to come back at some point. He even touted the borough in an entrance interview at the Bay Area college, and hinted at new novels that document his life in the city.
“I keep running away and coming back again,” Lethem said. “I think this time away will help, but you can never keep me fully away.”
©2010 Community News Group
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