The Arrest isn't post-apocalypse. It isn't a dystopia. It isn't a utopia. It's just what happens when much of what we take for granted - cars, guns, computers, and airplanes, for starters - stops working...
Before the Arrest, Sandy Duplessis had a reasonably good life as a screenwriter in L.A. An old college friend and writing partner, the charismatic and malicious Peter Todbaum, had become one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. That didn't hurt.
Now, post-Arrest, nothing is what it was. Sandy, who calls himself Journeyman, has landed in rural Maine. There he assists the butcher and delivers the food grown by his sister, Maddy, at her organic farm. But then Todbaum shows up in an extraordinary vehicle: a retrofitted tunnel-digger powered by a nuclear reactor. Todbaum has spent the Arrest smashing his way across a fragmented and phantasmagorical United States, trailing enmities all the way. Plopping back into the siblings' life with his usual odious panache, his motives are entirely unclear. Can it be that Todbaum wants to produce one more extravaganza? Whatever he's up to, it may fall to Journeyman to stop him.
Written with unrepentant joy and shot through with just the right amount of contemporary dread, The Arrest is speculative fiction at its absolute finest.
The thing about the best Lethem novels - and I'm thinking back to early in his career, to Motherless Brooklyn and The Fortress of Solitude - is that they were such fun. I've read everything he's written since and rarely has a novel approached the sheer pleasure of The Arrest... It is, in short, a blast. - Observer
Exuberantly clever... extremely strange, twistily plotted, fizzingly written, not a little absurd and lingeringly mysterious. - Daily Telegraph
Lethem's pithy chapters - some poetic, some sharp, others both - bring this eerily timely tale to a grim, if wry, conclusion. - Daily Mail
Inventive, entertaining and superbly written - New York Times
A certain goofy charm... Jonathan Lethem's apocalypse is a whimsical one. - The Times
An impeccably executed, moving, and wildly inventive tale of madness and narrative at the end of the world. Lethem is at the top of his game. - Emily St. John Mandel, author of STATION ELEVEN
A pleasingly idiosyncratic take on things falling apart - SFX
If part of the point of The Arrest is that we love our apocalypses neatly packaged, then Lethem deserves credit for refusing to play along: his inimitable imagination never stops delivering curveballs. - Daily Mail
Jonathan Lethem's latest novel, "The Arrest," is a work of literary fiction that associates itself with the science fiction subculture by launching a carefully planned assault on the science fiction pop-culture juggernaut. In doing so, the book provides a quietly lyrical alternative to the uberviolence and cliché blustering of Hollywood plots. - Boston Globe
The Arrest is a novel that defies description in the best possible way, which makes it quintessentially a work of Jonathan Lethem's at his most sublime. It's an organic tale of the apocalypse, a Hollywood parable, and a fable of survival and surrender. The prose crackles, the jokes land hard and fast, and the story's heart is sensationally large. Spectacularly imaginative but grounded in humanity and hope - The Arrest is a perfect novel for this moment and future ones. - Ivy Pochoda, author of These Women
It's a wonderful read, the writing gracefully gonzo, the emotional beats often unexpected yet quite right. - Los Angeles Times
As a writer gifted at playing with genre forms and riffing on popular culture, (Lethem) enjoys tweaking dystopian-novel conventions. - USA TODAY
Sentence by sentence, Lethem is sheer visual delight. - Financial Times
The Arrest is a very wry, very smart novel - every wink and twist is pre-empted. For all the genre shenanigans it has a proper purpose. - Stuart Kelly, Spectator
About the Author
Jonathan Lethem is the New York Times bestselling author of ten novels, including The Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. He currently teaches creative writing at Pomona College in California.