Extended Audio Sample

Download Men and Cartoons Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Men and Cartoons Audiobook, by Jonathan Lethem Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,918 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jonathan Lethem Narrator: Jonathan Lethem Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2004 ISBN: 9780739314906
Regular Price: $8.48 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $7.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

A boozy ex-military captain trapped in a mysterious vessel searches for his runaway son, an aging superhero settles into academia, and a professional “dystopianist” receives a visit from a suicidal sheep. Men and Cartoons contains eleven fantastical, amusing, and moving stories written in a dizzying array of styles that shows the remarkable range and power of Lethem’s vision. Sometimes firmly grounded in reality, and other times spinning off into utterly original imaginary worlds, this book brings together marvelous characters with incisive social commentary and thought provoking allegories.

Download and start listening now!

BK_RAND_000496

Quotes & Awards

  • “Lethem is the man to beat in fiction these days…Every tale of ennui, cosmic regret, and petty yearning is perfectly realized. The brevity of the book and perfection of the stories puts every other member of his generation to shame.”

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

  • “Terrific…Lethem captures the world we know and the one hovering just beyond our periphery.”

    Baltimore Sun

  • “Compelling…Effective…Intelligent and poignant…Strange, amusing, haunting…Lethem has what musicians call ‘chops,’ or technical mastery. He can mix and match prose styles and literary genres to create glittering fictional artifacts…Each of these nine tales rewards the reader in some way—through an insight, a scene, or simply the force of the author’s imagination.”

    St. Petersburg Times

  • “An already dazzling writer shows us a new card…Men and Cartoons ends on a note that portends Lethem’s most experimental turn yet: toward human love as [a transporting] alternate universe…Lethem in a new, more nakedly personal key.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “A strikingly original collection…Imaginative, insightful, witty, and sad.”

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • “Ineffably poignant.”

    Time

  • “Bristling with familiarity…Theme[s] that resonate…[Lethem is] adept at letting palpable human experiences emerge from absurd, fantastical situations.”

    San Diego Union-Tribune

  • “Nuanced…Resonates with intense force.”

    Newsday

  • “Smart…Original…Memorable…Lethem is…[like] the Coen Brothers of fiction.”

    Seattle Times

  • Men and Cartoons will open up a vast new world to readers unfamiliar with Lethem’s oeuvre…The entries are uniformly fine—each in its own way representative of Lethem’s mastery of whatever style he attempts.”

    Rocky Mountain News

  • “His sheer inventiveness is a treat…Affecting and clever, these tales are standouts.”

    People

  • “A pleasure…These stories offer potent little distillations of Lethem’s considerable imagination.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Laugh-out-loud funny tales of love, flamboyance, and childhood memories.”

    Elle

  • “Engaging…A Lethem primer…The characters of Men and Cartoons need their stories to be told.”

    Village Voice

  • “Jonathan Lethem spits out genres like curse words—from sci-fi to pseudo-erotica to the epistolary. His narrative psychosis is our disturbed enjoyment.”

    Genre Magazine

  • “Wonderful…A collection of tales based in Brooklyn but permeated with fantasy [from] the very talented Mr. Lethem.”

    Hartford Courant

  • “Lethem at his best…[An] appealing array of stories [that] exemplify Lethem’s talents as a profoundly imaginative writer.”

    Chattanooga Times Free Press

  • One of the 2004 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Thenicole | 2/17/2014

    " Lethem as both product and producer of popular culture is in fine form for alternately successful and moderately entertaining short stories. He's at his best when making us slightly uncomfortable, which means parsing these stories with their underlying comics and sci-fi bent will take some time. He can be read fast, but I think that undoes the quality that he's cultivated--that life is slow and terrible at times, and we are forced to live mundanely despite our occasional moements of super-heroism. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sea Stachura | 2/7/2014

    " this was good storytelling, but it was way too guy for me. The comic book theme went too far for me. The book breathed hip disaffection. I get sick of that in the New Yorker and I got tired of it here. (now watch me apply for MFA programs and have Lethem on my admission's committee) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nick | 1/24/2014

    " Two or three of these stories haunt me, all are memorable. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ben | 1/21/2014

    " I had heard lots of praise for Lethem, but was sorely disappointed with these short stories. Some of them showed promise early on, or at points throughout, but most were mildly intriguing at best, plodding at worst. Maybe it is simply because I don't 'get' what he was going for in most of them, but on the whole I felt like there wasn't a point, or that the point was too obscure, or that if there were a point it would be silly and annoying. I will say that I enjoyed "Access Fantasy" and "The National Anthem," the former for its intriguing dystopia and amusing plot twist at the end, and the latter for its clear soul-searching and scathing introspection (though whether or not either of those were of the author himself, I don't know). Maybe his full-length novels are better--more fully realized and fleshed out--since those are generally what I've heard people speaking highly of, but I wouldn't really recommend this collection of short stories. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bjorn | 1/19/2014

    " Lethem's second short story collection isn't a bad effort at all, but funnily enough (considering how good an essayist he is), I'm not sure the format suits him. Several of the pieces here feel like outtakes from a longer story, that sacrifice the character and thematic developments of a novel but don't quite pack the punch of a great short story. If you've read Fortress of Solitude (and you should) there's really not much new in stories like The Vision or Planet Big Zero, and sci-fi stories like Access Fantasy may be entertaining but come across as too obviously Vonnegut-meets-Bradbury without the sharp observations of either. That said, The Spray is a brilliant idea done very well (a couple are robbed, the police use a mystical spray to identify what's missing from their apartment, and the couple then turn the spray on each other to see what's unspoken between them...), The Dystopianist, Thinking of his Rival, is Interrupted by a Knock on the Door is not just a great title, and Super Goat Man makes the perhaps best use yet of Lethem's fascination with comic book heroes by featuring a jaded and retired superhero trying to make a living as a college teacher in Nixon's America - and then showing us exactly why heroes retire, and what happens to those who trusted in them; superhero deconstructions are a thirteen per dozen these days, but Super Goat Man is one of the better. Lethem is never not entertaining, and when he gets it right, that Pynchon-lite walk through an America built as much by Stan Lee as by Abraham Lincoln, populated by people trying to pick up the world their forebears handed them in bright colours promising caped baddies and upstanding heroes that somehow never delivered, works very well in short story form as well. But Men And Cartoons is a little too slight, with one or two stories too many that just fizzle out without going neither SPLAT nor POW. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan Ruopp | 1/14/2014

    " This book is deeply and disturbingly my life. I'm impressed by Lethem's ability to clearly portray, via short story, the exact feeling of being a single, slightly successful but still frustrated and moderately lonely guy. There's also a dryly fatalistic attitude that I find appealing. Particularly great is the counterpoint created between this attitude and the ultimately crushed optimism of the story "Vivian Relf". Also, the story "The Vision" is the first piece of serious literature about the party game of Mafia I've ever read, and that's genius. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steen Christiansen | 1/14/2014

    " A wonderful collection of stories inspired in part by comics culture. Lethem's fluid prose reads like a benign version of PKD, constantly teetering between hallucination and fantasy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 John | 1/5/2014

    " A bunch of half realized surreal short stories. The only reason I gave it 2 stars is because there were a couple of ideas that were mildly interesting (but not fully explored). "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Dave | 12/26/2013

    " Well, I love "Fortress of Solitude." That's really all I have to say about this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Todd Sobocinski | 12/20/2013

    " Poignant modern science fiction stories. One or two disappointments, but enough gems to warrant four stars. The more surreal stories seem to be the most inspired. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Valerie F | 10/8/2013

    " Lethem revisits a lot of the same themes from Fortress of Solitude (Brooklyn, cartoons) in short stories, but they don't really do much for me. Read for Elle 2004 Fiction Readers Prize. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Seth | 10/5/2013

    " The man likes cartoons. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meredith | 8/27/2013

    " i only read some of these stories... i should finish it one day, i like lethem a lot "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 8/27/2013

    " Some stories in this collection were amazing, some not so much. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed reading this Lethem collection. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mythili | 6/19/2013

    " I liked the tragic story about a spray . . . "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jen | 2/15/2013

    " This was a good read of short stories. I loved Motherless Brooklyn, which is what made me pick this up at the library. I really enjoyed all of the stories except "Access Fantasy" which I wasn't able to get through. A quick and worth the effort read for sure. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mercurymouth | 12/23/2012

    " mine has a different cover but just the back of this book's dust jacket has me cracking up....can't wait to read it...I need some humor in my life (the dog is dying):( "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 dragynlady | 12/13/2012

    " This was my first Lethem, and I am so glad I found him. Goat man was my favorite. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brittany | 12/8/2012

    " A couple of the stories were good, but I was neutral about the rest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kaiya | 10/5/2012

    " jonathan lethem writes a much better novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mathew | 4/28/2012

    " Some of the stories seemed short, too short. Unfinished, cramped. Most were fun and enjoyable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Teddy | 2/8/2012

    " Some of the stories are exceptional and a good introduction to Lethem "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 kihan | 7/8/2011

    " Fantastic stories! Beginning to harbor a really serious liking for Lethem books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ever | 5/4/2011

    " I love short stories! This book was filled with quirky, weird, and deeply thought provoking stories. My personal favorite was "The Spray." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 April | 3/28/2011

    " Word of advice: If you go on a Lethem-reading marathon & start with this, you'll see so many ideas taking shape for Fortress of Solitude, it's ridiculous. Great short stories though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wick | 3/9/2011

    " Ogni racconto è una piccola perla: in questa raccolta Lethem mostra il meglio di sé nelle short stories. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tris | 12/2/2010

    " Some of these stories I really liked. Some were okay. A couple of them seemed like they've been rattling around in Jonathan Lethem's undoubtedly crowded head for years, and never quite made it to completion. Not his best stuff, but certainly amusing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alexis | 11/11/2010

    " Two and a half stars. I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. I found that some of the stories worked for me, and others were almost too bizarre and experimental. I'd be interested to read one of his novels, but I wouldn't necessarily read his short stories again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mathew | 1/19/2010

    " Some of the stories seemed short, too short. Unfinished, cramped. Most were fun and enjoyable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paul | 12/23/2009

    " 'Super Goat Man' is the reason to buy this book - it's one of the best pieces of short fiction I've ever read. The rest of the stories range from great to modestly good, but 'Super Goat Man' is the stand-out tale. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Author Jonathan Lethem

Jonathan Lethem is the author of a number of critically acclaimed novels, including National Book Critics Circle Award–winning Motherless Brooklyn and The Fortress of Solitude. Lethem’s stories and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s, Rolling Stone, Esquire, and the New York Times, among others. He lives in New York City.