Entertainment Weekly describes “Chronic City” as a “feverish portrait of the anxiety and isolation of modern Manhattan, full of dark humor and dazzling writing.” Jonathan Lethem brings together two unforgettable characters: moody druggies who, at a relatively young age, have already passed the prime of their lives and form an unexpected friendship with each other. “Chronic City” is resplendent with death, mystery, drama, and politics, although it lacks a viable plot. In the words of the New York Times, “The turbocharged plot of “Chronic City” is too intricate and seamless, and also too odd, to summarize easily.” The book runs on Lethem’s fast-paced humor and satire, creating a real treasure trove of memorable images and rich allusions to the world’s most famous city. Says the Washington Post:
This super-hip, genre-blurring, MacArthur-winning, best-selling novelist proves he’s one of the most elegant stylists in the country, and he’s capable of spinning surreal scenes that are equal parts noir and comedy. But ultimately, these perfectly choreographed sentences compose a tedious reading experience in which redundancy substitutes for development and effect for profundity.