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Dissident Gardens: A Novel (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 10. September 2013

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  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 384 Seiten
  • Verlag: Doubleday (10. September 2013)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0385534930
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385534932
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 16,5 x 3,3 x 24,5 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3.5 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 62.335 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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"Claiming to have lost my reviewer's copy of Jonathan Lethem's Dissident Gardens, I asked his publicist at Doubleday to send a couple more galleys my way...I wanted the additional copies so I could press them into the hands of close family and dear friends, telling them as I did so: 'Here, read the year's best novel.'"
--Alexander Nazaryan for The New Republic

"Lethem is as ambitious as Mailer, as funny as Philip Roth and as stinging as Bob Dylan...Dissident Gardens shows Lethem in full possession of his powers as a novelist, as he smoothly segues between historical periods and internal worlds...Erudite, beautifully written, wise, compassionate, heartbreaking and pretty much devoid of nostalgia."
--Los Angeles Times

"While collective memory might offer some hazy grasp of McCarthyism and the Hollywood black-lists, all but forgotten is the real American Communist Party and its Depression-era heyday. In this epic and complex new novel, Lethem considers what happened to the ACP, as well as some other questions, about material isolation and filial resentment...The cast makes for a heady, swirly mix of fascinating, lonely people. Lethem's writing, as always, packs a witty punch. The epoch each character inhabits is artfully etched and the book is as illuminating of 20th-century American history as it is of the human burden of overcoming alienation."
--Publishers Weekly

"Lethem extends his stylistically diverse, loosely aligned, deeply inquiring saga of New York City (Motherless Brooklyn, 1999; The Fortress of Solitude, 2003; Chronic City, 2009) with a richly saturated, multigenerational novel about a fractured family of dissidents headquartered in Queens...Lethem is breathtaking in this torrent of potent voices, searing ironies, pop-culture allusions, and tragicomic complexities. He shreds the folk scene, eviscerates quiz shows, pays bizarre tribute to Archie Bunker, and offers unusual perspectives on societal debates and tragic injustices. A righteous, stupendously involving novel about the personal toll of failed political movements and the perplexing obstacles to doing good."
--Booklist, starred review

An assured, expert literary performance by one of our most important writers…That Lethem has taken us so close to the Promised Land of a rejuvenated proletarian fiction with this magnificent novel gives us reason to be hopeful.”
--The Los Angeles Review of Books

An emotionally complex, stylistically sophisticated [novel] from one of America’s most brilliant writers, Jonathan Lethem…Dissident Gardens is a supremely peculiar tale. But as a story about a quarrelsome family entangled with impossible ideals, it’s touchingly universal…Where else can you read really funny Marxist baseball jokes? Or see how commie parents would dress their children for Halloween? That dialectical tension between mirth and intellectuality has always been Lethem’s most alluring quality, and it accounts for the unpredictability of Dissident Gardens. His finesse is on full display in the final chapter, a seemingly slight encounter at the airport that shifts in a blink to a reflection on our harrowing isolation, the tragic lack of comradeship that defines our modern age.”
--The Washington Post

A novel jampacked with the human energy of a crowded subway car…It’s a big book set in small spaces – kitchen, classroom, folky nightclub – that keep its battles personal at all times…[A] wild, logorrheic, hilarious and diabolical novel. Those who reflexively compare Mr. Lethem to other Jonathans, like Jonathan Franzen, would be better off invoking Philip Roth.”
--The New York Times

"[A] stunning new novel...Spanning several major events -- from 1930s McCarthyism through the recent Occupy Wall Street movement --  and featuring an imaginative nonlinear time sequence so that the novel's particulars arrive at unexpected moments, this work is a moving, hilarious satire of American ideology and utopian dreams...Lethem enthusiasts may find this to be his best yet. Very highly recommended."
--Library Journal, starred review

"A dysfunctional family embodies a dysfunctional epoch, as the novelist continues his ambitious journey through decades, generations and the boroughs of New York...The setup of this novel is so frequently funny that it reads like homage to classic Philip Roth."
--Kirkus Reviews

"[This] novel's powerful and polarizing cultural, political, and racial energies are animated by a typically Lethem-esque cast of zanies, communalists, sexual adventurers, innocents, druggies, dreamers, and do-gooders -- cosmopolitans all -- whose lives collide and clash with gut-busting humor, heart, and hubris, which Lethem delivers in his seductively vertiginous prose."

"In the past two decades, Jonathan Lethem has written, co-authored or edited 23 books, picking up a MacArthur 'genius' grant along the way. He shows no signs of flagging in his rich ninth novel, Dissident Gardens, an evocative, deeply sympathetic work about three generations of New Yorkers caught up in personal and global politics...It's also no small thing that this famously Brooklynite author has brought to life some of the neglected borough of Queens -- and so much life, so artfully, persuasively created. When a book pulls me for so long into a beautifully made world, there's always a strange sensation upon the last page: I feel the air yanked from me in a sigh for endings and a whoosh of wow."

Dissident Gardens is Jonathan Lethem’s big book, a Buddenbrooks transported from Lübeck, Germany, to Queens, New York. Old-fashioned and epic in all the proper ways, spanning generations, full of history and human yearning, yet post-post-modern enough to include in its awareness of itself The History Of The Novel…With this effort, Lethem yearns to make sense of a century of American longing, the same longing that created the very notion of the Great American Novel. And if the author comes up short, that only means more yearning, more longing, and (hopefully) more novels like this one.”
--The A.V. Club

"Jonathan Lethem's latest novel, Dissident Gardens, is a tour de force, a brilliant, satiric journey through America's dissident history from 1930s-era communism to today's Occupy movement."
-- The Star Tribune

"[Dissident Gardens] is a real tragedy of errors, the characters all destined, like their ideals, for failure. But their vessel, a true novel of ideas, soars, like Sputnik, against all odds."


A dazzling novel from one of America's finest writers - the story of three generations of a radical New York family

Longlisted for the 2015 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Nicola am 8. Juli 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Für ein Buch von Jonathan Lethem habe ich noch nie länger als vier Wochen gebraucht. Für Dissident Garde brauchte ich vier Monate. Es hat sich gelohnt. Nach einem zähen Anfang entfaltet sich die komplizierte Geschichte, zerfällt fast in ihre Bestandteile. Um dann wieder zu einem Ganzen zusammenzufinden. Lethem in ganz neuer schreiberischer Größe, gewohnt sorgfältig durchdachte und elegante Prosa.
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2 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Klaus am 12. April 2014
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Ich mag Lethem sehr gerne, z.B. The Fortress of Solitude und Motherless Brooklyn, auch Chronic City. Dieses Buch ist gut geschrieben, aber nicht so lebhaft und humorvoll. Lethem Fans sollten es lesen; andere sollten mit einem von den anderen Titeln anfangen.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 143 Rezensionen
61 von 71 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Wish I loved it more 17. September 2013
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
I expected to fall in love with this book, but I was disappointed for several reasons. It's too topical, over-written, and tries to tell too many stories. And what it up with that cover? It's the ugliest book jacket ever.

As a boomer, the subject matter and the times are of great interest to me. But recently I'm finding books that try to incorporate every political and social cliché from the last 50 years. I've lived through those decades, and while most of us were influenced by the events, we were not directly touched by every single one of them. Here we meet communists, the Sandinistas, the Occupy movement, the `60's folk music craze, gay people coming out, detention by FTA authorities, East German spies, etc, etc. I had the same problem with "The Interestings" and several other books.

Despite much well-crafted writing, this is yet another book in search of a merciless editor. There are some true gems embedded within the text, and the trick is to find them. At just over 360 pages, "Dissident Gardens" gets bogged down with lots of language and feels like a much longer read.

Of the three generations of radicals whose stories are told, I was only intrigued by the first two, Rose and Miriam. I am very grateful for interesting women. Fortunately, each chapter centers around one of three, and I chose to skim lots of Sergius.

I think "Dissident Gardens" isn't sure which story it wants to tell. I wish authors would decide what they want to focus on, depicting a flavor of an era without cluttering the plot. All the elements of a great book are here. I'd like to just cut it up and paste the best parts back together.
41 von 48 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The story accretes through nearly 400 pages 1. September 2013
Von Jessica Weissman - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
Jonthan Lethem loves New York, ideas, words, and vivid characters in about that order. His new novel tells the story of two unusual women and their men and their times and their children in a loosely spiraling fashion. The story is definitely not told from beginning to end, though the novel does start near the beginning of the story. He conjures up a New York neighborhood of radicals, and a bunch of radicals to populate it. Their odd lives and relations are told elliptically, with information accreting over the chapters as certain mysteries become clearer.

Paragraph by paragraph he's a miracle worker, but I am not sure he achieved his aim in this novel. If you have no tolerance for radicals or of folksingers, you'll hate this. If you want your stories with a direct bang and a lot of compact drama, stop after the first few chapters and spare yourself. But if you want to understand how the legacy of an idealistic movement works on people after the movement has betrayed itself and is over, and on their children, this is for you. Maybe someday Lethem will write about what happened to the hippies and war protesters of the 60s and to their children.

Ultimately, if you have patience and like the sometimes florid narrative style Lethem uses here, and are willing to let some mysteries hang, you'll be rewarded. If you don't mind plenty of what might seem extraneous information and observation, stay the course. Otherwise stay away.
47 von 61 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Let me start 15. August 2013
Von Michael Moore - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
by saying I'm an unabashed fan of some, of some, maybe most of Jonathan Lethem's work. In the late nineties, when I came across him, Lethem was a genre busting novelist particularly busting the crime noir genre with Gun, With Occasional Music where evolved animals are commonplace and police monitor citizens' Karma.

As She Climbed Across the Table, my sentimental favorite is a send-up of academia and science fiction. The faculty Christmas party rivals anything in Richard Russo's Straight Man. Girl in Landscape, another personal favorite combined science fiction with western, (John Ford type westerns) and Amnesia Moon is Lethem's riff on post apocalyptic novels.

My overall favorite of all his novels is Motherless Brooklyn. The characters were vivid and developed, the setting is a character and the action is always moving. A main character with Tourette's Syndrome had to be a challenge but Lethem walked a fine line between believability and not allowing the disability to be a main focus. It was like detective with an alcohol problem. I have to admit that I read but was not a fan of Fortress of Solitude. I found it dense and in need of editing. I find the same is true with Dissident Gardens.

This is a hard novel to review because there just is so much packed in to it. I found the novel badly in need of editing. There are too many stories swirling around and they tend to break up the momentum. I didn't need so much about Tommy Gogan especially when I am intrigued by Miriam and her relationship with Rose which I found far more interesting than how she and Tommy met I thought the novel worked best when focused around Rose and Miriam with characters in orbit, not with characters as separate stories altogether

Then there are all these densely packed sentences. Try this one about Rose's black lover: "Her black cop, noble enduring grandson of slavery, starved husband and disgruntled father, Bulge veteran, Eisenhower Republican, six foot-two and near three hundred pounds of moral lumber, of withheld rage and battened sorrow, embodied cypher of American fate stalking Greenpoint Avenue rattling kids off doorsteps and out from where they ganged around parking meters, daring anyone utter a cross-eyed word-the man should have from Rose whatever he required." No doubt it was a fun sentence to write but there are a lot of these.

The novel follows dissidents Rose Zimmer and her daughter Miriam through several decades from the 40's to Miriam and Tommy's son trying to occupy something other than an airport. Secondary characters like Lenny Angrush (and we all know a Lenny who is everyone's older cousin) and Cicero Lookins, the son of Rose's black policeman lover, who becomes a professor (and whose life is heavily Rose influenced) which allows Lethem more fun with academics, are all interesting characters who revolve around Rose and Miriam, but have their own stories. With these characters, Lethem hits the right amount of involvement and interest. It's just that he can go off on tangents...Rose's husband, the lost Albert, the opportunistic dissident Sol Eaglin and so on. There's just so much. The novel flits across a dissident landscape from WWII, Vietnam, Contras, and Occupy Wall Street.

The other thing to keep in mind if you are planning to read this novel and there are very good reasons to read it, is that the chapters are like a Kurt Vonnegut novel and unstuck in time. A reader finds no chronology other than what she or he can keep in mind.

Finally, I read this novel right after reading the Flamethrowers by Roberta Kushner, which is also about dissidents, sort of, but during some of the same time period and found the two uneasy bookends.
7 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Disappointed Lover of Lethem 15. Oktober 2013
Von Mark Eremite - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
I have enjoyed every novel Lethem has ever written. I was blown away when I first discovered Gun, with Occasional Music in a harvest bin at a local bookstore, and since that novel, I have made a point of getting every new Lethem novel the moment it was available. His genre-bending, his quirky plots, and his vivid prose have only grown in scope and skill over the years, and it's been a treat to watch him age as a writer.

What a disappointment, then, for the first time ever, to have to say that he's lost the plot. Literally.

DISSIDENT GARDENS (eesh, what a clunky title) tells the story of idealism (mostly of the Communist variety) as it waxes, wanes, and morphs through a family over the years. It's a character-driven novel, as very little of any note happens at all, most of the narration spent on describing emotions, hopes, beliefs, and the way life can grind away at your ideals with its stubborn real-world setbacks and provincialism. This might have worked had the characters been more interesting, but there's really not much to these people. They believe in certain things but -- although pages and pages are spent describing these beliefs -- they are rarely very clearly drawn or explained.

That's probably because -- and I can't believe I'm saying this -- the book is overwritten to the point of exhaustion. I can't believe this is the same guy who wrote Motherless Brooklyn or Chronic City. Heck, even The Fortress of Solitude, his most florid work to date, was a sumptuous treat, a narrative that -- while vast and comprehensive -- was still delectable, dripping with vivid scenes, characters, and events. This books, however, is a long, dry, exegesis that still leaves you with almost nothing to really grasp or imagine.

Maybe it would be better if I cared all that much about the book's politics, but being pretty much disillusioned with the world of politics, I can't say I get, empathize, or even care about these people and their hunger for Communism (etc.). Of course, that hunger doesn't seem to have a very visible endpoint. Rose, Miriam, Sergius, Tommy, all of these people desire a certain kind of world, but that kind of world seems vague to the point of being annoying. Maybe that's the point? I don't know. Even if it is, it doesn't make for very good reading.

At one point, a character named Rose must sit and watch her husband, Albert, deliver a speech to a group of Communists in a rural New Jersey enclave. His speech is flowery and inflated, and Rose finds herself annoyed, thinking to herself, "Quit setting the table and put a meal out for them to eat." She rues the fact that her husband's speechifying has no real content, that it is basically just drawn out table dressing.

I felt the same exact way about this book. The writing is so grand and verbose that it seems to think that it is paving the way for a meal fit for a king, but it's really just a lot of fancy finger twiddling. For the first time in my nearly two-decade love affair with Lethem's work, I found myself dreading returning to one of his novels, pushing my way through each chapter and even finding the rare moment of action and interest -- IRA, Nicaragua, even an obsession with Archie Bunker -- just sad punctuation to the inert rest of the book.
20 von 26 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Three generations of anti-American Americans 1. August 2013
Von R. M. Peterson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
This sprawling novel covers three generations of "anti-American Americans" - Communists, hippies, and protestors. Its geographical locus is New York City. Its temporal span is from the mid-1930's to 2012 - from the American Communist party in its Stalinist heyday through assorted civil rights movements of the Sixties and Seventies up to the Occupy movement.

Its pivotal characters are representatives from each of the three generations. First, there is Rose Zimmer, nee Angrush, a second generation Brooklyn Jew, who for most of the novel lives in Sunnyside Gardens in Queens. Rose is indomitable, with a brash exterior and slashing tongue, and a deeply buried tender, loving heart. She once was married to Albert Zimmer, who in the late Forties defected from the American Communist party to live in East Germany, and later she takes up with a black policeman and becomes surrogate mother of his son. Second, there is Rose and Albert's daughter, Miriam, who is perhaps even more a vital life force than Rose. Miriam is a savvy, committed social and political activist, who marries an Irish folk-singer turned protest singer, Tom Gogan (nee Gheoghan). In an explanatory letter, Miriam writes her long-absent father: "My identity was New Yorker, and leftist. An anti-American American, which was complicated enough, a role requiring a constant vigilance." And third, there is Sergius Gogan, Miriam and Tom's son, who by the end of the novel is seeking to find out about his mother and his grandmother and, in the process, hooking up with a girl from the Occupy movement.

The novel is about the good and the bad within families and within political movements. In both, there is love and good intentions, but there also is conflict, selfishness, silliness, and stupidity. There are some great scenes, including one between an aging Rose Zimmer and Archie Bunker, in which Lethem's rendering of Bunker is spot-on. And the limning of Rose's descent into dementia is particularly touching.

On the whole, however, DISSIDENT GARDENS didn't really grab me. It surely holds special personal significance for Lethem, whose mother was a Jewish political activist in Brooklyn. But, for me, it does not come close to "Motherless Brooklyn", the only other one of Lethem's novels I have read. Lethem's prose is flamboyant and cascading. However, there is more verbiage than action, and the novel often became tedious. DISSIDENT GARDENS probably would be most appreciated by New Yorkers of a certain age (at least over fifty) and a certain political orientation (liberal, or formerly radical). The ending, by the way, is odd.
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