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About the book
  • Published: 15 February 2018
  • ISBN: 9781784701642
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $19.99
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The Blot


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A surreal and brilliant novel, set in a Pynchonesque California

**A New York Times top 100 Notable Book of the Year**

Alexander Bruno is a man with expensive problems. Sporting a tuxedo and trotting the globe, he has spent his adult life as a professional gambler. His particular line of work: backgammon, at which he extracts large sums of money from men who think they can challenge his peerless acumen. In Singapore, his luck turned.

Maybe it had something to do with the Blot – a black spot which has emerged to distort Bruno’s vision. It’s not showing any signs of going away. As Bruno extends his losing streak in Berlin, it becomes clinically clear that the Blot is the symptom of something terrible. There’s a surgeon who can help, but surgery is going to involve a lot of money, and worse: returning home to the garish, hash-smoke streets of Berkeley, California. Here, the unseemly Keith Stolarsky – a childhood friend in possession of an empire of themed burger bars and thrift stores – is king. And he’s willing to help Bruno out. But there was always going to be a price.

  • Pub date: 15 February 2018
  • ISBN: 9781784701642
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Jonathan Lethem

Jonathan Lethem is the New York Times-bestselling author of nine novels, including Dissident Gardens, The Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn. A recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, Lethem has also published his stories and essays in the New Yorker, Harper‘s, Rolling Stone, Esquire and the New York Times, among others.

Also by Jonathan Lethem

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Praise for The Blot

“A return to form, absurd and digressive in a way that makes clear Lethem’s debt to Thomas Pynchon”

Alex Preston, Observer, 2017 Books of the Year

“Lethem can turn a sentence like few others”

Daniel Swift, The Spectator

“Lethem is a renowned stylist who turns out funny, exuberant, surprising sentences, and who has a deep love of genre fiction”

Paul Laity, Guardian

“Lethem’s phrasemaking is as vivid and funny as ever”

Daily Telegraph

“The Blot does not disappoint. It sets a high bar for 2017’s fiction… There are moments of genuine, inexplicable tenderness as well as the sarcasm, venality and schadenfreude that swirl around the book… It also shows… that the genre best equipped to speak truthfully about the world we are in is not a flat-footed and sententious realism, but un-realism.”

Stuart Kelly, Scotland on Sunday

“The encounter Lethem depicts in the German’s ostentatiously costly study […] is one of the finest standalone scenes I’ve read in some time… there is much to admire here: the author’s ability to bend genre; the depth of his knowledge of his chosen subjects (backgammon; brain surgery) and the breadth of his pop culture references… Few writers can compete with Lethem for fluency and panache.”

Sarah Crown, Guardian

“There are probably a dozen novelists whose new books, every one, I’m predisposed to read. Jonathan Lethem is one of them. I like his fundamental literary ratios — plot-to-pensées, comedy-to-tragedy — and the prose is a pleasure, lucid sentences that swerve and surprise without being show-offy”

Kurt Andersen, New York Times Book Review

“Jonathan Lethem’s new novel combines a little of the intrigue of James Bond with all the sexiness of backgammon. The result is a literary game that’s shaken not stirred.”

Ron Charles, Washington Post

“This novel is a tragicomedy; it plays at its best like a “Twilight Zone” episode filmed by the Coen brothers … Lethem has intense gifts; nothing he writes is a waste of time.”

Dwight Garner, New York Times

“Lethem's 10th novel is a romp in which history, both personal and collective, can't help but assert itself... Think Thomas Pynchon, especially in the scenes set in Berkeley, a landscape of hipster burger shops and lost souls still longing for a revolution that washed out in an undertow of drugs and dissolution decades before. [A] fitting follow-up to Dissident Gardens (2013)... Lethem takes real pleasure in the language and writes with a sense of the absurd that illuminates his situations and his characters... In this tragicomic novel, nothing is ever exactly as it seems.”

Kirkus, *Starred Review*

“A humorously surreal and articulate story of Bruno's search for himself after having his face and brain rearranged, both by surgery and by modern life in general, this is, among other things, a great Berkeley novel like Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue.”

Library Journal, *Starred Review*


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