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As She Climbed Across the Table | [Jonathan Lethem]

As She Climbed Across the Table

Philip is in love with Alice. As the novel opens, he is beginning to lose her. Not to another man, as he fears, but to, literally, nothing. Alice is a physicist, and a team at the University where both she and Philip work has created a hole, a vacuum, a doorway of nothingness inside the laboratory. They call it "Lack". Alice becomes obsessed with Lack, as Philip is obsessed by Alice.
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Publisher's Summary

Philip is in love with Alice. As the novel opens, he is beginning to lose her - not to another man, as he fears, but to, literally, nothing. Alice is a physicist, and a team at the university where both she and Philip work has created a hole, a vacuum, a doorway of nothingness inside the laboratory. They call it "Lack". Alice becomes obsessed with Lack, just as Philip is obsessed by Alice.

The novel is at the same time an astute and wise portrait of unrequited love (albeit of a very unusual kind), a hilarious academic parody, a novel of ideas, and a social satire. It is utterly original, but in the school of Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Katherine Dunn, and David Foster Wallace.

Passion, humor, yearning, and knowledge are blended together in a suspenseful love story that could be characterized as "American magical realism".

©1998 Jonathan Lethem; (P)2007 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Exceptionally clever. . . . A book of compelling ideas, of intellectual conflict, of human frailty and desire. And it's funny." (Dallas Morning News)

"Jonathan Lethem has succeeded in delivering a wonderland on the side of the looking glass," (San Francisco Bay Guardian)

"Lethem is opening blue sky for American fiction. . . . He is rapidly evolving into his own previously uncataloged species." (Village Voice Literary Supplement)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Dundas Malibu, CA, United States 07-11-12
    Dundas Malibu, CA, United States 07-11-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    "Early Lethem"

    If you like the way Lethem's mind works, this book is a look at the way it worked in a more formative stage. It's not a rich, mature work like Chronic City. But it has the wordplay and ideaplay of his later work, in a simpler world, an exploration of something vs. nothing, the nature of reality, and love that doesn't really work.

    Title notwithstanding, there's no satisfying carnality in the book.

    For someone wanting to try Lethem, I'd recommend starting with Chronic City instead of this. CC is nonstop brilliance, inventive in a way that I'd compare with Humboldt's Gift, though ultimately less literary but more crazy in a good way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Bellevue, WA, United States 01-21-10
    Elizabeth Bellevue, WA, United States 01-21-10 Member Since 2007

    A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Odd little book"

    I didn't hate this, but I didn't love it either. At least I wanted to finish it to find out how it concluded. Someone recommended the book to me and I probably should have done more research before buying it,as I'm not generally a fan of Sci-Fi.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzie Gladstone, OR, USA 04-20-09
    Suzie Gladstone, OR, USA 04-20-09
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    143
    3
    Overall
    "Intriguing book"

    A definite for time traveler or sci-fi fans. I really enjoyed this book, can't wait to see if he writes some more along this line. The ending was great!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kate AucklandNew Zealand 03-15-09
    Kate AucklandNew Zealand 03-15-09
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    1
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    "couldn't get into this book at all"

    this is the only book I have downloaded that I can't listen to past the first hour.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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