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Extended Audio Sample A Gamblers Anatomy: A Novel, by Jonathan Lethem Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jonathan Lethem Narrator: Mark Deakins Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The author of Motherless Brooklyn and The Fortress of Solitude returns with a devilishly entertaining novel about an international backgammon hustler who thinks he’s psychic. Too bad about the tumor in his face.

Handsome, impeccably tuxedoed Bruno Alexander travels the world winning large sums of money from amateur “whales” who think they can challenge his peerless acumen at backgammon. Fronted by his pasty, vampiric manager, Edgar Falk, Bruno arrives in Berlin after a troubling run of bad luck in Singapore. Perhaps it was the chance encounter with his crass childhood acquaintance Keith Stolarsky and his smoldering girlfriend Tira Harpaz. Or perhaps it was the emergence of a blot that distorts his vision so he has to look at the board sideways.

Things don’t go much better in Berlin. Bruno’s flirtation with Madchen, the striking blonde he meets on the ferry, is inconclusive; the game at the unsettling Herr Kohler’s mansion goes awry as his blot grows worse; he passes out and is sent to the local hospital, where he is given an extremely depressing diagnosis. Having run through Falk’s money, Bruno turns to Stolarsky, who, for reasons of his own, agrees to fly Bruno to Berkeley, and to pay for the experimental surgery that might save his life.

Berkeley, where Bruno discovered his psychic abilities, and to which he vowed never to return. Amidst the patchouli flashbacks and Anarchist gambits of the local scene, between Tira’s come-ons and Keith’s machinations, Bruno confronts two existential questions: Is the gambler being played by life? And what if you’re telepathic but it doesn’t do you any good?

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Quotes & Awards

  • 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* 
  • 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...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*
  • [Lethem's] flair for off-kilter plot twist and oddball character, seen through a past foray into straightforward historical realism in his Dissident Gardens, makes a roaring comeback in A Gambler’s Anatomy.
    Huffington Post
  • A haunting Kafka-esque parable... Esquire
  • Delightfully weird. Vogue
  • Delightfully weird... Vogue
  • A Gambler’s Anatomy joins Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue in affectionately skewering Berkeley, that land of faded liberal dreams and smug libertarian gentrifiers. But it’s also a return to the surrealist paranoia that courses through Lethem’s most original books. Boris Kachka, Vulture
  • Lethem is famous for his genre bending approach to fiction and this delightfully unusual tale is no exception. A Gambler’s Anatomy is a spy story wrapped up in a farce wrapped up in a social justice quest narrative, with a dash of horror and the paranormal thrown in for good measure. A tragicomic gem. LitHub
  • No novelist of recent years has been less predictable than Lethem, whose genre-bending exploits have produced a hybrid literature all his own. In his new novel, his 10th, the author seems to be channeling (and, as usual, transforming) both Thomas Pynchon and Ian Fleming...in short, just another day in Lethemland, as strange and wondrous in its way as anyplace imagined by L. Frank Baum. Chicago Tribune 
  • [Lethem's] flair for off-kilter plot twist and oddball character, seen through a past foray into straightforward historical realism in his Dissident Gardens, makes a roaring comeback in A Gambler’s Anatomy.
    Huffington Post
  • ...Lethem’s the best absurdist working in American writing right now and this book promises to be a customary wild ride. The Guardian
  • ...delightfully weird... Vogue
  • In his new novel, he seems to be channeling (and, as usual, transforming) both Thomas Pynchon and Ian Fleming...in short, just another day in Lethemland, as strange and wondrous in its way as anyplace imagined by L. Frank Baum. Chicago Tribune 
  • A thoughtful, first-rate novel that also happens to be a page-turner. New York Times Book Review
  • A haunting, Kafka-esque parable... Esquire
  • A Gambler’s Anatomy will lead more than one reader to rummage around in the back of their closet (or local toy store) for a backgammon set…mesmerizing, twisty, fearless. San Francisco Chronicle
  • An effortless blend of comic hijinks and madcap tragedy…Lethem serves up a punchy, stylish, relentlessly entertaining novel. Star Tribune
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
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