Turning the Page

Writer Jonathan Lethem's 2003 tome The Fortress of Solitude was heavy in terms of its subject matter and its actual weight. In contrast, Solitude's successor, You Don't Love Me Yet — which Lethem is promoting via a book signing today — is lighter in both senses of the word, and he makes no apologies for the disparity. "People are so prone to kind of put it on a scale with The Fortress of Solitude, and it flies up into the air when you put Fortress on the other side," he concedes. "But I wrote some short and — what would I say — whimsical novels a long time ago, and I was the same guy."

Also similar is the presence of music in each tome, although it's even more central to Love. The comic quasi-romance revolves around Lucinda Hoekke, a bass-playing Los Angeleno whose band takes a leap when she borrows lyrical themes from a mysterious caller to a complaint hotline where she works. Thanks to such narrative elements, Love has been dubbed a rock novel. However, Lethem, who's recently written some major pieces for Rolling Stone — including the last major profile of James Brown — rejects that definition. "I think I tried to kind of evade that issue by making these characters so hapless," he says. "They're not really a going concern except in their own minds. But that hasn't stopped people from looking at it through that lens."

How would Lethem describe his latest? As his "funniest and sexiest book" — one whose value lies "in the enchantment that fiction can create, where you're in the realm of the subjective and the emotional and the fanciful."

Lethem takes the podium at 2 p.m. at the Denver Central Library, 10 West 14th Avenue Parkway; admission is free. Learn more at 720-865-1206 or www.denverlibrary.org.
Thu., June 14, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts