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You Don't Love Me Yet: Lethem, Jonathan

You Don't Love Me Yet

Lethem, Jonathan

ISBN 10: 038551218X / ISBN 13: 9780385512183
Published by Doubleday, 2007
Used Condition: Fine Hardcover
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FIRST EDITION, 8vo., pp. 224--SIGNED by author on title page--Book condition is Near Fine w small indentations to bottom of boards in two places ow unread, clean, as new--Dust-jacket condition FINE unclipped, as new in ploy-fit sleeve. Bookseller Inventory # 000153

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Bibliographic Details

Title: You Don't Love Me Yet

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: 2007

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

From the incomparable Jonathan Lethem, a raucous romantic farce that explores the paradoxes of love and art

Lucinda Hoekke spends eight hours a day at the Complaint Line, listening to anonymous callers air their random grievances. Most of the time, the work is excruciatingly tedious. But one frequent caller, who insists on speaking only to Lucinda, captivates her with his off-color ruminations and opaque self-reflections. In blatant defiance of the rules, Lucinda and the Complainer arrange a face-to-face meeting—and fall desperately in love.
Consumed by passion, Lucinda manages only to tear herself away from the Complainer to practice with the alternative band in which she plays bass. The lead singer of the band is Matthew, a confused young man who works at the zoo and has kidnapped a kangaroo to save it from ennui. Denise, the drummer, works at No Shame, a masturbation boutique. The band’s talented lyricist, Bedwin, conflicted about the group’s as-yet-nonexistent fame, is suffering from writer’s block. Hoping to recharge the band’s creative energy, Lucinda “suggests” some of the Complainer’s philosophical musings to Bedwin. When Bedwin transforms them into brilliant songs, the band gets its big break, including an invitation to appear on L.A.’s premiere alternative radio show. The only problem is the Complainer. He insists on joining the band, with disastrous consequences for all.
Brimming with satire and sex, You Don’t Love Me Yet is a funny and affectionate send-up of the alternative band scene, the city of Los Angeles, and the entire genre of romantic comedy, but remains unmistakably the work of the inimitable Jonathan Lethem.

Review:

With his sixth novel, You Don't Love Me Yet, Jonathan Lethem continues to show off his dexterity with the form, following up the coming-of-age epic The Fortress of Solitude with a dreamlike, comic portrait of the Los Angeles art scene. Lethem craftily sets up his ruse with a letter of complaint from Falmouth Strand (a seemingly minor character) who warns us that the book we are about to read completely misrepresents the truth. Falmouth is a former installation artist who has turned from sculpting objects to "manipulating people's despair, pensiveness, ennui." For his latest project, he has posted signs around Los Angeles: "Complaints? Call 213 291 7778." The novel centers around Lucinda (the perfect, unwitting instrument for Falmouth's manipulation), a bass player in a would-be indie rock quartet with nearly enough good songs for a 35-minute set (if you don't count the two they don't like anymore). Lucinda has vowed to stop sleeping with the band's lead singer Matthew (for real, this time), launching a search for true love as drunken and misguided as the band's search for a decent name. She abandons her upscale barista gig to answer complaint calls for Falmouth's conceptual art piece. Before long, she finds herself drawn to a regular whose curious words are "like a pulse detected in a vast dead carcass" of daily complaints. By way of Lucinda, the "genius" complainer's words spark the band's next song, setting them on a shaky upward trajectory all too familiar in the art world. Various characters want (or don't want) to take credit for the song's apparent success, but who deserves it? The complainer who nonchalantly rattled off the words, Lucinda who wrote them down, the remaining band members who collaboratively put them to music, or Falmouth himself, who passively engineered the whole thing?

Fans of Fortress and Motherless Brooklyn may find this novel's levity too drastic a shift, but even though Lethem is having a great time here with wordplay, a motley cast, and Lucinda's sexual meanderings, You Don't Love Me Yet is anything but a simple entertainment. He plays with our notions of art and authorship, enjoying a bit of advanced cribbery himself as he experiments with Shakespearean antics and inexplicable love match-ups. At every turn, Lethem seems to be asking sticky questions: Can anyone create the consummate intersection of dream, desire, and reality that art (and great sex) embodies? Will it last, and should it? Can any one writer capture that moment with a few meager words? If they did, how long would it take for it to be reduced to meaningless slogan? --Heidi Broadhead

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