Born: 19 February 1964
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
Best known as: Author of The Fortress of Solitude
Jonathan Lethem is a writer with high-brow literary credibility whose novels have drawn comparisons to the science fiction novels of Philip K. Dick and J.G. Ballard. Lethem attended Vermont's Bennington College in the early 1980s, and was acquainted with Donna Tartt, Jill Eisenstadt and Bret Easton Ellis. But while they were writing novels, Lethem was studying painting and gradually working up to being a writer. He left Bennington in 1984 and spent the next decade working in bookstores and building a career as a story writer. His first novel was Gun, with Occasional Music (1994), a somewhat futuristic detective story some critics described as a mix of Philip K. Dick and Raymond Chandler. He followed up with more speculative fiction in the novels Amnesia Moon (1995), As She Climbed Across the Table (1997) and Girl in Landscape (1998). His novel Motherless Brooklyn (1999) featured a would-be private eye with Tourette syndrome in Lethem's hometown in New York. It won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was Esquire magazine's Novel of the Year. Lethem explored more hometown nostalgia in The Fortress of Solitude (2003), considered by fans and critics his most ambitious novel. In 2005 he was the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant." He has also published story and essay collections and magazine articles, including a September 2006 feature on Bob Dylan for Rolling Stone.
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